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Full text of "Scriptural comments .. . appearing in the Charlotte Sunday observer ..."

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Dolume II. 




Scriptural 
Comments 



OTUtb.,.. 



Supplement 




EMORY UNIVERSITY 




5182771 



IRev* 3ol)n <£• ttro?; 




Scriptural Comments 



Volume II. 



WITH SUPPLEMENT, 



APPEARING IN THE 



Charlotte Sunday Observer, 



From October '97 to September '98. 



BY 

Rev. John C. Troy, 

"Western North Carolina Conference, M. K. Church, South. 



CHABLOTTE, N. C. 

Observer Printing and Publishing Hous<j. 

1898. 



CONTENTS. 



Frontispiece. PAGE 

Preface 5 

The Invalid 9 

The Righteous Not Forsaken 11 

What We Must First Seek 12 

Perfect Trust in Kxtreme Trial 13 

All Things Work for Good 16 

The Advocate 21 

Is He Your Shepherd ? , 25 

An Answered Prayer 28 

Hang Out the Scarlet Thread 29 

The Mission of Christ 31 

Thanksgiving Notes 34 

Giving a Hand 37 

The Wise Men Seeking Jesus 43 

It is the I,ord Who Helps 47 

Optimist vs. Pessimist 52 

Walking with God 53 

Waiting on the I,ord 58 

A Ivife Time War 61 

Put on the Whole Armor 65 

What Makes a Good Soldier ? 69 

Where Shall Rest Be Found ? 74 

Overtaken in a Fault 76 

Naaman's Burden Gone 79 

Baptized For the Dead 83 

Comforting Words 86 

No Controversy About This 90 

They Who Believe Not to Perish 95 

A New Creature 96 

Religion Keeps the Mind 100 

He Couldn't Pay the Price 105 

The Widow's Importunity 1I0 



PAGE 

Liars, Their Doom 114 

A Bishop's Sermon 117 

A Woman and Her Pride 120 

Don't Take Skimmed Milk*. 122 

Successful Religious Work 125 

Glad to Go to Church 126 

The Everlasting Arms 129 

Spots, Wrinkles, Blemishes 130 

Christ's Church 133 

How Are We Saved ? 135 

Christ Came to Save You 139 

When Will He Save You ? 140 

He Promises to Keep You 141 

The Best Thing to Do 142 

SUPPLEMENT. 

School Days at Hillsboro 145 

Chapel Hill in '75 and '76 .*. j^ 

Secret of Odd Fellowship 257 



PREFACE. 

Through the goodness and mercy of God, I am permit- 
ted to publish the second number of Scriptural Com- 
ments, with Supplement, being part of my contributions 
to the Charlotte Observer since October, 1897. The kind 
reception given the first number of the Comments has 
made me bold to think that this number will meet with 
similar favor. It is sent out, as was the first, to enable the 
author to keep the ends near each other, and to glorify 
God, Whose he is, and Whom he serves, in faith and love. 

As a part of the preface of this little book, my readers 
will excuse any lack of modesty in my appending a few 
words copied from Church and State, a goodly paper ed- 
ited by Miss Mamie Bays and W. W. Bays, Jr. The 
former, by the way, has relieved me of much fatigue, nec- 
essarily, a part of physical weakness, by taking upon her- 
self the task of compiling the articles, reading the proof 
sheets, and, in fact, doing much to aid in making the book 
complete. Her words, kind notices of the press all over 
the State, and hundreds of letters received from my read- 
ers, have been to me as apples of gold in pictures of silver, 
and made me to believe, with all my heart, that faith in 
God, and, also, in humanity, will bring "sun-lit days" in 
the gloomiest weather, and put silver linings on the dark- 
est clouds. 

"It was a special pleasure to be in the home of Rev. J. 
C. Troy, in. Jonesbonx Our welcome caused us to feel 
at home from the first. Brother Troy's affliction is great, 



but he bears it as a true soldier of Christ, and not one mur- 
mur passes his lips. He is a true child of God, and the 
consistency of his Christian character impresses one 
deeply at a single meeting. His cheerfulness is marked 
and is above the average of one who suffers so. It is a 
benediction to meet and converse with such a true fol- 
lower of Jesus, and one can but be made better from such 
intercourse. 

"Brother Troy is not permitted to preach from the pul- 
pit, but he preaches numberless sermons to those who 
meet him in his home and by means of his pen. The re- 
ligious department of the Charlotte Observer, of which 
he is the editor, is a regular feature of the paper, and one 
which is much enjoyed. His 'Scriptural Comments,' com- 
piled from last year's articles, is a most readable book and 
well worth the small price asked for it. We were glad to 
learn its sale had been so good, and we trust this will con- 
tinue until the edition is exhausted, and we hope he will 
live to compile other books as well. 

"A most devoted wife and little daughter are Brother 
Troy's constant companions, and we pray their loving at- 
tention and devotion may be rewarded by their loved 
one's recovery. It is not beyond the power of God to re- 
store His servant, and let most earnest prayer be made 
that such may be His will." 

In conclusion, let me say that, which ever way the tide 
may turn, going out or coming in, it is all right with me, 
and God's will is my will. But I would say, "Brethren 
pray for us." 

The book does not attempt to settle disputed ques- 
tions in theology. The matter contained in it is not pon- 



derous. But the author thinks he has stated facts. And 
this being true, he has the right to believe that God will 
own and bless the work. 

From the beginning to> the end, I would have the little 
book preach the doctrine, Follow, in every condition of 
life, the steps of Jesus. 

"If where they lead my L,ord 

I, too, be borne, 
Planting my steps in His, 

Weary and worn, 
May the path carry me 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 
Nearer to Thee. 

If Thou the cup of pain 

Givest to drink, 
Let not my trembling lips 

From the draught shrink. 
So by my woes to be 
Nearer, my God, to Thee, 
Nearer to Thee." 

JNO. C, TROY. 
Jonesboro, N. C, October, 1898. 



THE INVALID.— COMMENTS SUGGESTED BY 
HIS DISCIPLINE OF PAIN. 

" Besides, all true soldiers of the cross have put on with 
their enlistment a duty, to do somewhat for and in the 
name of that Holy Emblem, and in these modern times, 
when the Believers no longer have nations and powers to 
contend with, they needs must do something to show 
that their faith is not vain. Men who are constant and 
great sufferers are watched by all who are thrown in con- 
tact with Lhem, and as they endure, so is their Faith esti- 
mated, and they all owe the Savior a good example to 
others who have not yet been brought under the stern, if 
useful, discipline of Pain." 

The above we copy from the article in last Sunday's 
Observer, contributed by The Invalid. We do so because 
in it there is so much truth; and to comment a little on 
two points: 

i. That as "believers no longer have nations and pow- 
ers to contend with, they needs must do something to 
show that their faith in not vain." And yet, it is a fact 
that the Christian warfare, now, is no sham, but a veri- 
table contest in which the nerve of men has the oppor- 
tunity to show itself. Nerve, not cheek, is needed at this 
day; and the one who has it is sure to reach the goal. And 
the fight, of the man who really has faith in God, calls for 
a refinement of courage never excelled in any sanguinary 
warfare; either of ancient or modern times. The man 
who really means what he says, who invariably says the 
right thing, who fears God, and keeps His Command- 
ments, has discovered that the offense of the cross is not 
ceased; and that he has a fight on his hands which must 
be renewed boldly every day. But his faith is not vain,. 



10 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

and the success following the daily battle proves it. The 
hardest work any man ever attempted is carrying the 
cross — of course folks who have never had dyspepsia or 
nerv his prostration may deny the proposition — but nev- 
ertheless it is true; and the cross-bearer will be a con- 
queror in an every-day fight; and if faithful unto death, 
will be remembered as long as the boy who stood on the 
burning deck. The flames rolled on, he would not go, 
without bis lather's word; and because his father told him 
to stand l here, he stood; and nothing but the blowing up 
of the powder magazine could move him. So God needs 
men in 'the fight who will stand in their "lot;" in the place 
where He lias commanded them to stand; and by their 
heroism show to the world that they can endure hardness 
as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. They may even glory 
in their infirmities; in that these very infirmities open a 
door that but for their appearing might have remained 
closed forever. There is nothing that brings out the 
pure gold like the smelting furnace. The dross is burnt 
up, and the stuff, itself, comes out purified, and fit for 
the Master's use. It takes fire to do thorough work. If 
you think you will not be able to go through the furnace 
you had better not "get religion," as some people term it. 
Religion means a fight. 

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I 
came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to 
set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter 
against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her 
mother-in-law. 

"And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. 

"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not 
worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more 
than me is not worthy of me. 

"And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after 
me is not worthy of me," Matt. 10:34-38. 
r 2. The Invalid says again: "Men who are constant 
and great sufferers are watched by all who are thrown in 



SCRIPTTJKAL COMMENTS. 11 

contact with them, and as they endure, so is their Faith 
estimated.'' This being true, what follows? 

"Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with 
so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, 
and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run 
with patience the race that is set before us. 

"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our 
faith; wro for the joy that was set before him endured the 
cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right 
hand of the throne of God." Heb. 12:1-2. 

That is, we are to look to Jesus as our pattern. The 
same patience He exercised in runing the race we are to 
exhibit. A Christian without patience is out of the race; 
lie is a dwarf, and cannot run well. 

In writing these comments it is not with a view to at- 
tempt explanation of The Invalid's utterances. They 
are so plain — like the Bible on fundamental doctrines — 
that I ha\ e simply taken the extract as a text for my 
brief sermon. Many of us are helped and benefitted by 
his doctrine, and are always glad when he writes. 



THE RIGHTEOUS NOT FORSAKEN. 



'T have been young, and now am old; yet have I not 
seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." 
Ps. 37:23. This is a very comforting passage of Scripture, 
and yet, it is a difficult matter to not be interested in the 
question of bread supply. The race problem, the money 
question or any other question, except that of one's per- 
sonal salvation, are of minor import when brought into 
comparison with it. A worthy, Christian gentleman, 
living in the "Land of the Sky," had lost his position: and 
for weeks or months had no employment, and he and 
family were brought very near extreme want. One after- 
noon he called upon me — we were close friends. He 
spoke of a glowing sermon wmich he had heard in the 



22 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

morning, and in commenting thereon, remarked that it 
was a very easy matter for the fat, well fed, well paid, in- 
telligent ' minister to paint with glowing colors as he 
preached on the subject ai faith; and he wondered if the 
preacher would have been so jolly, and so full of faith, had 
he known, that when the services concluded, he would, 
like him— the speaker— be compelled to sit down to a 
table almost bare of the necessities of life. And yet my 
friend, who is a righteous man, soon repented of the im- 
plied doubt conveyed by his remarks, and said "every- 
thing will yet be right;" and also added his belief in the 
preacher's ability to deliver even a greater sermon on the 
subject of faith though the wolf stood at the door of the 
preacher's home. The preacher in question is one of the 
men who is great because of his trust in God. The 
righteous are not forsaken, and his seed do not beg bread, 
but nevertheless there are instances which appear as a 
denial. Still, we know, and must believe, that God has 
all wisdom and skill by which to make available to his suf- 
fering children all they need. He has put great supplies 
in the hands* of His Church, or the members, and the ob- 
ligation falls heavy on every one of them to see that His 
will is carried out. 



WHAT WE MUST FIRST SEEK. 

"But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His right- 
eousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." 
—Matt. 6:33. I remarked to my wife this morning 
(Wednesday). "If we live until Sunday, perhaps it 
would be a good idea for us to have a baked chicken 
for dinner." "I don't know where it will come from " 
was her reply. Our young lady visitor, who, by 
the way, was educated at the State Normal' and 
of course a sensible girl, came back with' the 
answer: "It will come by faith." I think we will have 
the chicken; and everything else that is essential for our 



SCEIPTURAL COMMENTS. 13 

comfort — "Therefore take no thought, saying, What 
shall we eat? or wherewithal shall we be clothed! For 
after all these things do the Gentiles seek;" (and according 
to Mr. Enniss the Anglo-Saxon is not a Gentile,) "for 
your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these 
things." Seeking God's righteousness. That is, let our 
righteousness be the same as His, and there can be no 
doubt of the result. 

"Oh, for a faith that will not shrink, 

Tho' pressed by every foe ; 
That will not tremble on the brink 

Of any earthly woe. 

"Lord, give us such a faith as this, 

And then-whate'er may come, 
We'll taste e'en here the hallowed bliss 

Of our eternal home." 



PERFECT TRUST IN EXTREME TRIAL. 

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." — Job 

13:15- 
To most persons there is some affliction which they 

account the extreme of trouble, and we hear them say, 
in harmony with this feeling: "I could bear any sorrow 
except poverty; or I could bear any trial except death of 
my children; or I could bear any affliction except the loss 
of my reputation; or I could quietly endure any sorrow 
except the trial of suspense." If you will listen to the ut- 
terances of those around you, you will find many striking 
illustrations of the remark — that to most persons there is 
some affliction which they account the extreme of 
trouble. This estimate of particular troubles changes, 
however, with circumstances. The same affliction does 
not, in every stage of life, appear to some persons the 
climax of grief, and when a man has endured a variety of 
troubles, he loses, to some extent, his keen dread of par- 



14 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

ticular calamities, and he would describe the lowest depth 
of grief by some such words as my text, "though He slay 
me.'"' 

Did Job refer to his own death, think you? Or, is the 
te>;t a general representation of the extreme of sorrow? 
We think the latter, but in either case, the text is a high 
and noble expression of confidence — of childlike confidence 
in God. 

The foregoing is a selection from a sermon preached 
long ago. The writer of the same is dead, but he still 
speaks, and in words that are easily understood, and that 
should be very helpful. 

In commenting on this text, I am led to remark that 
it is seldom we ever trust one who is a stranger, unless 
his representations are backed by such credentials as are 
only given by men of character and integrity to< those 
who are entitled thereto. If we are acquainted with a 
man, if we know, absolutely, that he is square, we trust 
him. So trust in God invariably comes from a mutual ac- 
quaintance. In a general sense all men trust God. And 
the text is often incorrectly quoted, "Though He slay me, 
yet will I trust Him;" but comparatively speaking, there 
are few only, who "trust in Him," as Job uttered the 
words. Trusting in God is an intelligent act or habit of 
the man. It is not like the infant resting in its mother's 
arms, but as the bride giving herself to the bride-groom; 
a conscious act. 

Trusting in God is a fruit that has ripened perfectly 
by believing the representations which are given of God. 
God is spoken of as a refuge, a rock, Shepherd, Father 
and all of these He is. When God saith, "I will do this," 
He means it; and the man who trusts in Him is sure that 
not one jot or tittle of His word can fail. There is a wide 
difference between trusting God and trusting in God. 
Trust in God is a fruit of reconciliation with God. We 
do not trust in Him naturally, for we are alienated from 
God in our natural state. God is a stranger to the 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 15 

natural heart of unbelief, but in the heart of the regene- 
rated man He lives and abides; and because of this man 
has become reconciled to God's ways and dispensations; he 
can trust in Him. 

All that possibly can be said of trusting in Him, whose 
we are and whom we claim to serve, (for I write to such 
as acknowledge that they have been bought by the blood) 
is illustrated in the case of Job. He imagines the direst 
calamity; for the point in this wonderful utterance, is in 
the pivot word, "though." "Though he slay me." The 
Christian man, who has been educated by applying the 
word to every form of adversity will say the same as Job. 
Everything may appear to work against me, but "I will 
trust in Him;" my heart gets weak, but "I will trust in 
Him:" my plans, for a living for self and family, are going 
to fail, but "I will trust in Him;" God seems to be acting 
strange.' y, but "I will trust in Him;" He seems sometimes 
to act unkindly; when I ask for bread, He gives me a 
stone; when I ask for meat, He gives me a scorpion; and I 
am almost ready to say, it is naught, it is naught; but di- 
rectly I ask His pardon, I cling to His promises as the 
wrecked mariner clings to the spar, and the light comes, 
and God is still with me even though the sun did seem to 
hide His face and the winds to be all contrary; and "I will 
trust in Him." He appears to forget to be gracious, but 
"I will trust in Him." He has disappointed some of my 
fondest hopes, the ashes of which lie all about me, and T 
wonder why it is so; but we know not all His plans, and 
''Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him." 

"The morning mists that lie 

About the day, that comes so softlv in, 

Hide all its secrets, from the searching eye, 

And none may tell what want, or pain or sin 

Shall break, new risen, from the enfolding shroud, 

Nor what is in the cloud. 

"But howsoe'er it be, 

We dare go forth to meet the dim unseen, 

Tranquil and patient; God is near and He 

Will be our helper as He yet has been ; 

And let the day be fair or rough 

We shall have strength enough." 



16 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

"We may not always feel as Job felt, much less as 
some of his friends felt. We may not always speak as Job 
spake, or even as he acted. But so far as our text is con- 
cerned we may safely copy this most patient of men." 

It seems that God does slay, but the slaying is all for a 
purpose. There is no death out of which God does not 
bring some new life. "Then when He slays that which 
you most cherish — a flower of paradise, a tree of life, a 
fatling of the flock — trust in Him, trust in Him, and go 
further, put yourself in a position to say, imagining some- 
thing worse, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in 
Him> 

In the matter of endurance, as applied- to any kind of 
suffering, there are two ways, even though we have 
reached the point of extreme trial, viz: "One is to grin 
and bear it; the other is to sing and bear it." I accept 
the latter way because it is the best. 



* ALL THINGS WORK FOR GOOD. 

"And we know that all things work together for good 
to them that love God, to them who are the called accord- 
ing to His purpose." Rom. 8:28. This verse reads, to some, 
as if there might be predestination in it. The writer if 
he had the disposition for theological discussion might 
prove that it doesn't. But as he considers himself to be 
one of the elect, "who are called according to His pur- 
pose," he concludes that such discussion is unnecessary 
and will pass on to say what he has in mind. In reading 
this very famous passage of Scripture, and which is so 
difficult at times, to reconcile with many of the events of 
life, it is well to note the fact that the Apostle teaches, 
not that all things work for good to every person, but 
only, "to them that love God." Now, if you really love 
God, nothing can happen in the course of human events 
that will not work for good. That you may not possess 



SOEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 17 

the ability to see the good coming from certain disasters 
and disappointments, to which the flesh is subject at any 
moment, is no reason that the proposition is not true. 

A good woman, whom I do not have the honor to 
know; but whose letter is evidence, of intelligence and 
Christian life and which has interested me much, writes 
as follows: 

"Dear Brother: In a recent discourse you say, 'God 
had nothing to do with the slaying of the men of the 
Maine, only in that, His law was violated, and they died. 
Cause and effect.' " She has quoted me correctly. Now 
she puts some straight, well directed questions. In 
order 1o be brief I will number them. 

"i. How then are we who are bereaved and suffer 
through such disasters to realize to ourselves and ac- 
knowledge the hand of God in our affliction — accept the 
trial from our Father's hand — feel that it is sent for a defi- 
nite purpose and that it is to benefit us in the end? 

"2. However bitter and hard to bear, to feel that it is a 
God-appointed task and that heaven grants strength for 
these tasks? 

"3. How look upon such dispensations as His will and 
dealings with us whatever may have been the immediate 
cause; and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of 
God, and sincerely say, 'Thy will be done;' as we are so 
often exhorted to do? 

"I am inclined to accept your theory as advanced in the 
discourse mentioned; but am unable to reconcile the two 
views. Please tell me how. I am anxiously and honest- 
ly seeking guidance and consolation, and make these in- 
quiries of you to assist me. If you will answer through a 
discourse in the Semi-Weekly Observer or otherwise, 
you will oblige a sister struggling under great and 
heavy afflictions." 

The questions were suggested by the words of the 
editor of this department to the effect that God had noth- 
ing to do with the slaying of the men of the Maine. Why 



18 SCEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

the statement? Read Exodus 20:13. "Thou shalt not 
kill " This divine commandment is directed to the. 
Spaniard as much as to any other. Here is a ship loaded 
with precious huma'n lives. She is quietly resting at 
anchor in the harbor of Havana. The men, with malice: 
in their hearts to none, have finished the work of the day; 
and in their hammocks are sleeping, dreaming, many of: 
them, perhaps, of the dear ones left in the land of the free.. 
But why dwell on the event of that night, which, in all. 
ages,- will rest upon Spain as one of the blackest acts of 
her already black history of human cruelties, tortures and 
murders. The electric lights in the city, suddenly, as if to 
make darker the surroundings of the place where the 
hellish piot was to be consummated, went out. The whole 
power of the dynamo was used in sending the electric cur- 
rent which caused the explosion of the mine — and you 
know the rest. It can never be forgotten. The suffer- 
ings of the quarrelsome Cubans are as nothing compared. 
with that deed which sent the hundreds of mnocnt Ame- 
ricans, without a moment's notice, to eternity. And if 
there be war with Spain that alone should be the cause. 
To say that our God, full of pity, justice, and mercy, had 
a hand in that deed of atrocity is to make Him an acces- 
sory, a party, to murder in the first degree; malicious, 
premeditated, the Lord only knows how long; inexcusable 
and race than devilish in conception, concoction, and 
consummation. That God permitted it, yes; for when He 
says to man: "Thou shalt not kill," the conclusion 
legitimately follows that in man there is a disposition to 
murder but God tells him to hold it down; and if the 
man, after the commandment "Thou shalt not," puts his 
finger on the button, the current will start and if it comes 
in contact with dynamite, or other explosive material 
there «vill be trouble. But mind you, don't have any 
idea that God will stop that current. It goes according 
to law: but its going brings a result that is contrary to 
law; plainly expressed: "Thou shalt not kill." 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 19 1 

The questions of that good woman might be answered 
collectively by reading the text: "And we know that all 
things work together for good to them that love God." 
Evidently she does love Him; and therefore I would give 
her for comfort and consolation such parts of the Word of 
God as are of like tenor with the text. It may be some 
one on that ship was dear to her, or at any rate, it is 
reasonable to conclude that she has suffered as many 
others have done. I would not tell her to refrain from 
mourning, for we are taught that comfort comes to them 
who mourn. But she need not expect this blessing 
through any of man's words, but go to the divine source, 
filled with resignation and submission, and obtain the 
power to drink without murmur or complaint from the 
chalice of suffering, that, in the course of human events, 
has fallen to her lot. She is inclined to accept my theory, 
but cannot reconcile it with the view indicated in her 
questions. Paradoxical as the two views might appear, 
they are not irreconcilable. It is generally believed, and 
has been so stated in the papers, that the Spaniards des- 
troyed the Maine; and consequently were the murderers 
of the men on board. If this be a fact then God, certainly, 
"only in that, His law was violated," had nothing to do 
with it. That this view is not altogether in opposition to 
that expressed in the questions can be readily seen. Let 
us ansv.er seriatim: (Read the questions.) 

i. It is not necessary for us "to realize to ourselves" 
that such disasters are committed by the hand of God. I 
would not preach that doctrine. But that the affliction 
and trial in consequence thereof are permitted of Him, 
and for our own sake and His glory, we must bear them. 

2. Therefore the task, in bearing bravely these afflic- 
tions though not of His appointment, is by His permis- 
sion. 

3. We are not to look upon dispensations which clearly 
are not His will as coming from Him. His word through- 
out quivers with the tenderness of a father's love and as- 



20 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

sures me that He does not willingly afflict His children. No 
disaster, however awful, and even though it comes direct- 
ly through treachery and a violation, by man, of God's 
law, should for a moment cause us to stagger in our de- 
votion to Him; nor to prevent us humbling "ourselves 
under the mighty hand." Mighty and great as His hand 
may be it is one that is filled with mercy. 

The good woman says she is "struggling under great 
and heavy afflictions" and writes me for "guidance and 
consolation." I feel the responsibility of the task and the 
Father knows that her requests have been carefully and 
prayerfully cosidered. In some way I cannot now see, the 
disaster which led to the letter, will work for good. God 
has brought good through evil dispensations without in 
any way being connected with the evil. 

If it were not for His word alone I would give up the 
fight; ior I, also, have more to endure than I would at- 
tempt to write. If it were not for the same source of 
strength it probably would be best for us all to give up 
struggling in affliction. Not wishing to present any of 
my own words for the comfort and consolation of this 
good woman, and others similarly situated, I have 
searched the Book and here is what I preach in accord- 
ance with the command: "Preach the word." 

"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, 
worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, 
but at things which are not seen; for the things which are 
seen are temporal; but things which are not seen are 
eternal." I. Cor. 4:17-18. Let us all remember that in 
due season we will reap if we faint not. But let us not 
allow ourselves at any time, nor under any circumstances, 
to believe that God, our Heavenly Father, is ever con- 
nected with such deeds of treachery and wickedness as 
make black, with the very blackness of darkness, the 
pages of history. Our country is in mourning, and the 
clouds of war appear to hover about us, and the nation's 



SCRIPTUBAL COMMENTS. 21 

pec pie are in suspense and how it will result we know not. 
But all the trouble is not from God. He stands for 
peace and is not willing that crime should follow crime. 
But if we love God "all things will work together for 
good," But the question is, do we love Him? If not, 
then all things may work in the opposite direction. Then 
we may paraphrase and say: "And we know that all 
things work together for bad to them that do not love 
God." The evidence that we love Him is in the keeping 
of the commandments. The text is only for them who 
do. Look out Spaniard! Remember the Maine! 
"Thou shalt not kill!" 



THE ADVOCATE. 

"My liitle children, these things write I unto you, that 
ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with 
the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." I John 2:1. In 
connection with this text read Rom. 8:34; I Tim. 2:5; Heb. 
7:25 and 9:24. There is no doubt in my mind that these 
words are addressed to Christians. The divine writer ex- 
horts to live free from sin. "That ye sin not." That is, 
don't violate the law. We know that sin is violation of 
law. It seems the writer would not have asked us to live 
an impossibility. If a man can keep the law one day, why 
not two days? Every day? But few there are who do 
keep it every day. And while this correct life, even here, 
is a possibility, the Word gives us a chance in case of fail- 
ure. "If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, 
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is 
faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us 
from all unrighteousness." I prefer to live a straight life 
in every particular; but if I make a slip, as I am often con- 
scious of doing, forgiveness and cleansing are promised on 
condition. For "if any man sin, we have an advocate." 
The office of an advocate is well known. He pleads the 
cause of another. We speak of learned lawyers and 



22 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

eloquent advocates. If there were no sin, violation of law, 
there would be no necessity for such an office. Christ can- 
not be the advocate of an unbeliever because he has never 
put himself in His hands. He is, however, the advocate of 
believers though their lives be without fruit. A specimen 
of His advocacy in this respect, is seen in the parable of the 
ban en hg tree. It had been planted and cared for, and the 
expectation, in consequence, was fruit. . But at the end of 
three years none was found. The owner concluded to 
have it destroyed. It is useless for the purpose intended. 
Three years he had come seeking fruit ''on this fig tree." 
"Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" The 
dresser of the vineyard has asked that it might have 
another year. Then after that if it did not bear fruit let 
it be cut down. It supposed this appeal for further exten- 
sion was granted. So we may believe that Christ, as an 
advocate, is ever, in some mysterious manner, pleading for 
the unfruitful and sinful child of God. If after all the care, 
pleading, and opportunity he continues his violation of 
law, which may be either by overt acts or nonconformity 
thereto, he may expect in the end to be cut down in the 
midst of his crime, and then, when he meets Christ it will 
be to appear before His judgment seat. And he can ex- 
pect only such treatment as a criminal, who had repeatedly 
violated the law, and times without number been allowed 
to go with the promise of amendment in life and conduct; 
which promise, however, had not been kept. It will not 
do to think that Christ as an advocate will continue to 
■pit ad when the man continually violates the law and shows 
no sign of fruit. But it is a fact stated with clearness and 
positi^eness that He is our advocate. That if we sin, we 
niay call on Him; and that He will treat His clients in the 
right way, is evidenced by these words in His credentials: 
"Jesus Christ the righteous." The righteous advocate is 
the one to be always desired when having need of such a 
friend. No priest nor bishop nor pope can stand and 
make me without sin. Christ is the only legal intercessor, 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 23 

meditator and advocate. I confess to Him directly and 
net to Him through a human agent or attorney. He 
speaks to every sinner to believe on Him and that He is 
the door by which any man may enter and be saved. With 
my last breath I would trust only in the merits of the 
Christ. "He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for 
ours only, but also for the sins of the whole 
world." It is indeed a wonderful statement. It is 
foolishness to many who hear it. But just the 
.same it is the power of God to such as be- 
lieve it. And because He is the propitiation for 
the sins of the whole world His work as an advocate can- 
not fail when a human, penitent and sincere, puts his cause 
in His hands. I do not know the manner of operation, 
the procedure in the divine court, neither am I going to 
worry my brain in trying to find out. This much is sure; 
I have a lot more confidence in the chance of the man who 
with a broken and contrite spirit calls upon Jesus to con- 
duct his cause, than I have for a lot of the sanctified band 
which have reached such a point of personal purity and sin- 
less perfection as to never need the Savior in His office of 
an .-.dvocate; and who, because they never do or think a 
wrong have eliminated from the Lord's prayer "forgive us 
our trespasses." They will use the petition for others, 
but not ior themselves. They are never liable for trespass. 
The most of this class, with which I come in contact, re- 
mind me of pea-cocks. One fellow proudly told me in his 
home that he had not asked the Lord in seven years to for- 
give his sins. That in that time he had committed none. 
I didn't believe him. When you take, as a definition of sin, 
transgression of the law; it looks as if a man, making such 
a declaration, that he had been perfect so many years, had 
lost nis hatchet. Lying is certainly one of the transgres- 
sions of divine law for which the lake that burns with fire 
and brimstone was prepared. I do not mean to say that a 
sinless life is not possible; but I do mean to say that the 
men whom I have met and who declare that they have 



24 SCRIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

reached that point, never struck me as being any better, 
and not as good as many who did not make such a sky 
high profession. That's the way it appeared to me. 

"He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His com- 
mandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." 
Keeping the commandments is the greatest test. And 
yet if we fail, let us acknowledge the fact, confess our 
sins, and ask His intercession. That is the way marked 
out. Watchfulness and prayer will aid us much. If we 
practice these means of grace in connection with the work 
of the Advocate we will come out all right. But remem- 
ber there is such a thing as growth in grace and that we 
can never expect to be anything more than dwarfs if we 
do not the part which God commands of us all to give 
Him our hearts. He has pardoned many times, but the day 
is coming when Christ becomes a judge. How will it be 
then with no one to plead? Better by repentance and 
faith acccept Him now, and there will be no future 
trouble. He can't do everything and you nothing and 
then give you the crown. He has done so much for you; 
what ha\;e you done for Him? 

There were two brothers. One worthless, the other, a 
successful and an honored advocate. The former often 
appeared in the court as a violator of the law. The posi- 
tion and character of the latter made his appeals success- 
ful when asking clemency in behalf of the criminal brother. 
In consequence of these eloquent and persuasive appeals 
the bad man was permitted to go without punishment for 
his unlawful deeds. But in due time the advocate was ele- 
vated to the bench. The man again was brought before 
the j iidge. But this time he had no advocate. The judge 
reminded him of the number of times he had appeared and 
advocated his cause. He could do so no more. He had 
done much for the criminal and he had failed to appreciate 
this work. There was only one thing now and that the 
infliction of the penalty for the violated law. There is a 
great difference in the office of advocate and judge. As 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 25 

the latter Jesus will appear at His second coming. For all 
of His advocacy if you have failed to give your life to His 
cause there can be but one result according to the law — 
sentence. What will it be? "And these," the unright- 
eous, "shall go away into everlasting punishment." "But 
the righteous," they who failed not to minister unto the 
needy, the stranger, the sick, the prisoner; who failed not 
in a sympathy for and a consecration to the cause of Him 
who gave His life for us; go "into life eternal." Let us 
employ the righteous advocate and then do as He directs. 



IS HE YOUR SHEPHERD? 

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." Ps. 23:1. 
— The pivot word in this text is "my." When you read it 
why not make it personal? A shepherd is a person em- 
ployed to attend and care for sheep. Ministers, our 
heavenly Father, and the Savior are, in the Scriptures, de- 
nominated, shepherds. We know then that if Jesus is 
our Shepherd, necessarily He will care for His sheep. "My 
shepherd!" To me, these words, as to thousands of 
others, are inexpressibly precious. This Psalm is probably 
known by more persons, young and old, than any other 
chapter in the Bible. It has been known by me since I was 
taught: "Now I lay me down to sleep." We learn it in 
youth, and remember it in death. But its beauty, power 
and effect cannot be appreciated until with all our hearts, 
with a 111II knowledge of the real meaning of the word, we 
say: My Shepherd! Then the conclusion is irresistibly 
forced upon us that in truth we shall never want. That 
there is one whose care for us never ceases; and who has 
promised to go with us even unto the end. Reliance up- 
on Him and a faithful uncomplaining following in His foot- 
steps, even though, often, they lead into Gethsemane itself, 
is what makes the religion of the Lord Jesus, the grandest 



26 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

and most potent fact of the universe. I love to read the 
dying testimony of a man like the late Rev. W. G. Vardell. 
He had followed this Shepherd, and when the time comes 
to enter the valley, he does so with the assurance that the 
blood cf Jesus, the Shepherd, who died for the sheep, 
cleanses from all sin; and yet when dying, and too weak to 
speak above a whisper, says: "My only prayer is 'God be 
merciful to me a sinner.' " The Christian, when called to 
enter the shades of death, does not meet the enemy, which 
is to be destroyed finally in the coming of Christ the 
second time, with the spirit of bravado; but with 
an abiding faith in His Shepherd, he may walk 
into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and fear no evil. 
Death itself is nothing to laugh at and treat with in- 
difference. The very thought of it, the hours of dissolu- 
tion, awaken in me a sense of my responsibility to 
Him who created us; and not only a sense of res- 
ponsibility to Him, but also that which I am due to 
my fellow man. There can no evil fall in the lot of a good 
man; and when the shades of night appear and his hour 
has come to die, if faithfully he has followed the steps of 
the Nazarene, why need he fear? What is to 
hinder him saying, even though his earthly hopes 
may be shattered: "Surely goodqess and mercy 
shall follow me all the days of my life?" And 
when the crape hangs on the door because the 
silver cord is loosed, and the golden bowl broken, the 
wheel broken at the cistern, will there be any reason to 
doubt that he, who followed the Shepherd, is still dwelling 
"in the house of the Lord forever?" The dust has return- 
ed to the earth as it was, and the spirit has gone to God 
who gave it. The precious dust remains, so also the 
spirit, for is not God a spirit, and is He not everywhere? 
Then when the spirit has gone to God it cannot be far 
away. I want my readers in to-day's Observer to take 
this Psalm, read it, meditate on it, absorb it; and say as 
you have never done before: "My Shepherd!" 



SCRIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 27 

"My cup runneth over." He loves his flock, and so feeds 
the sheep upon the bread and water of everlasting life that 
it is not hard to realize the fullness of God. "He brought 
me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was 
love." Though some of us may be weak and feeble and 
careworn, how delightful the thought, we are not deserters 
nor aliens; but still live under the flag. Nestle thee close 
to the Shepherd; keep in touch with Him, and all is well. 
He knows what we need, and in some way or other the 
Lord will provide. "I shall not want." Give away your 
doubts and let there be faith in Him. 

The other day I received a letter from a friend who has 
plenty in this life, but he becomes every once in a while a 
sick sheep; and needs nursing and also a little punishment 
with it. He should have a few pebbles to be thrown at him 
and hit him. He says his financial matters are interfering 
with his religious duties. I wrote him to be ashamed of 
himself, that he surely needed something to take the twist 
out of him. And yet we know that many become sick 
just as he, and for the same cause. These things ought 
not so to be. When I find myself in such condition the 
greater the necessity to get closer to the Shepherd; and 
because financial depression is before us much of the time 
there is greater need for nearness and consecration to Him 
who teaches that a man's life does not consist in these 
earthly things of which he is possessed. 

"Precious thought my Father knoweth, 

Careth for His child, 

Bids me nestle closer to Him, 

When the storms beat wild, 

Though my earthly hopes are shattered, 

And the tear drops fall, 

Yet He is Himself my solace, 

Yea, my all in all." 



28- SCEIPTUilAL COMMENTS. 

AN ANSWERED PRAYER. 

We know the Bible records many answers to prayer. 
There are also instances in this life where we notice that 
the prayer of the righteous availeth much. If this be not 
a true statement then there is much in the Bible on this 
subject that would be absolutely worthless. Many times 
prayers are answered and the credit is not given to God. 
Still I am a mighty believer in co-operation. If there 
were burglars in town who had been entering the homes of 
my neighbors to the extent as to alarm me, and I had con- 
cluded to make it a subject of prayer, I would certainly 
not forget after praying, to see that all the doors were lock- 
ed and the windows securely fastened. My impression is 
that this would be the sensible plan even though my pray- 
er was so specific as to expressly petition that the burglars 
might not get into my house. You let a man know some- 
times that you are praying for him, that you are inter- 
ested and concerned for his welfare; and many times this 
fact alone is a mighty stimulus to him for whom you pray. 
Drop him a line; speak a word; watch the effect. 

One^ear ago a good woman, one in whom all have con- 
fidence, wrote me these words: "I am praying that this 
may be, indeed, the brightest, happiest year of your life; 
though weak in body, may you be strong in spirit and grow 
in grace daily, and I pray that you may be 'strengthened 
wth all might according to his glorious power; unto all 
patience and long suffering with joyfulness' " — Col. 1:11. 
Please read the words over again. How specific. She 
was asking God a special favor. No kin to me except we 
are owned by the same master. I will write her to-day, 
that her prayer has been answered. 

She saw me when I fell, and knew how much I needed 
such words. 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 29 

HANG OUT THE SCARLET THREAD, .. 

"And she bound the scarlet line in the window." 
Joshua 2:21. 

And that is what saved her and her' household when the 
soldiers came. Obedience to orders is faith in action. 
Joshua the commanding officer of the Lord's army had 
sent out spies to view the land, and Jericho. A woman, 
Rahab, the harlot, lodged the men and hid them from the 
searching party sent out by the King of Jericho. For 
her services she was told that when the army came into the 
land, if ihe line of scarlet thread was in the window it 
would be well with her and her people. The army came, 
and the city, with all of its inhabitants, was destroyed; but 
those in the house, where appeared the line of scarlet 
thread were saved. "And Joshua saved Rahab, the harlot, 
alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and 
she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid 
the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho." 

The _.oung man, who died in Asheville the other day, 
and on his death bed repented of a life of infidelity, was late 
in hanging out the thread, but I suppose, in time to meet 
the divine requirements. But how much happier his days 
had he been earlier in looking after this important matter. 
The editor of this paper in an editoral a few days since re- 
marked that success was the point of view from which we 
judged the deeds of men. Such expressions as these strike 
me forcibly for the reason of the truth contained therein. 
But however successful a man may be from a worldly point 
of view he is a dead failure if he has failed to bind the line of 
scarlet thread in the window. The biggest fool in the 
world is the devil; because he dares to put himself in array 
against God. The next largest fool is the man in the en- 
joyment of reason and the multitudes of good things fur- 
nished by a beneficent Hand, who by his life denies that he 
owes any allegiance to the One who has given him an 
opportunity to escape the consequences of sin and goes on 
to the very end, with no line of scarlet in the window of 



30 SCKIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

his life. The line of scarlet is doing exactly what God 
commands to be done. The obedient are the successful 
and the saved ones; if the Bible is the book to believe. 
Rahab, of course, was a bad character; but she had the 
good sense to hang out the thread. How I hope that our 
brave zoldier boys, in camp and battle, may hear, and obey 
the voice of the Captain of our salvation, and hang out the 
scarlet thread. The bravest men need have no fear of 
results when they take the same decided stand for Christ 
that they have taken for their country. And they well 
know that in this, as in days past, it requires as much 
courage to fight sin as to combat the Spaniards. As the 
scarlet thread saved the woman, or was the token of her 
salvation, so the name Jesus, spoken in faith, will inure to 
the salvation of all who may use it. "Neither is there sal- 
vation in any other; for there is none other name under 
heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." No 
creed, no sect, no anything can avail; it must be Christ, or 
you are done for; and all other systems have tumbled. 
Some one has asked "what's in a name?" Not much in 
many. But in this name there is salvation. And there- 
fore there can be no comfort in any other. The war is on 
us every day; let the fight be carried on under the 
banner of His love. Let this name be the line of 
scarlet thread that you bind in the window of your soul. 
This name is given among men that they may be saved. 
He trod the winepress alone; and He alone can save. 
When temptations gather around you breathe that name in 
prayer. So to the soldiers, and all others, who may read 
these words to-day I send this for a token. The name of 
Jesus; our only hope and comfort. Take it with you; and 
then onward Christian soldiers. Some of you may not 
fight many battles. But you are all right if the scarlet 
thread is in place. 

"Stand up ! stand up for Jesus ! 

The strife will not be long ; 
This day the noise of battle, 

The next the victor's song : 



SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 31 

To him that overcometh, 

A crown of life shall be; 
He with the King of Glory 

Shall reign eternally." 



THE MISSION OF CHRIST. 

"For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save 
that which was lost." Luke 19:10. 

When I receive the Charlotte Sunday Observer my 
first impulse is to see if there is any thing of a religious 
nature contained therein. Naturally, like the fellow who 
begins to look if the editor has put in his piece, I turn to 
the religious department. (Now I do not mean to write 
any thing that will conflict with the article accompanying 
this.) After getting all I can out of that, I look up the 
"Christan Endeavor" column, then the editoral page, the 
letter from Raleigh, the New York letter, etc. But in last 
Sunday s about the first thing that caught my eye was an 
article headed: "Saved by Jerry McAuley." I read that 
first, and then, in my heart, thanked the editor for making 
this selection from the New York Sun. After I had read 
the account of the anniversary exercises of the founding of 
the mission, together with the testimony given by many 
to the great results following the work of the one who had 
been taken from the gutter, I thanked God that poor, sin- 
ful, degraded man had in Christ a Savior whose precious 
blood was sufficient to cleanse him from all sin and unright- 
eousness; and the words declaring the mission of Christ 
and which head the present article fastened upon my mind 
as they have done hundreds of times before. John 
Howard and Florence Nightingale had their missions; and 
their work, like that of Jerry McAuley, was built on the 
foundation which is laid in Christ. The mission of some 
is to become famous; of others, to gain wealth; but the fact 
is, eveiv individual realizes that he has some mission. 



32 SCRIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

That of Christ is to save the lost man. I prefer that to 
the word soul. It is hard, and even the greatest of the- 
ologians have failed, to tell exactly the true meaning of the 
word soul. But we alfunderstand the word lost, as applied 
to man. Out in the desert of sin, helpless and 
1 ready to die, Jesus found him. Like a lost sheep 
he had strayed away from the fold. Like the lost 
coin which the woman was so eager to find, lest its value 
should become impaired; so Jesus was anxious, and is still, 
to restore man to the image of God. He takes him out 
of the veriest sink holes of the world's wickedness, creating 
within him a new heart and renewing within him a right 
spirit. I do not put a premium on the man who has pros- 
tituted talent and destroyed usefulness by unexemplary 
conduct ; but I do glory in the declaration of the text ; that 
Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Not in heaven, 
that is not the idea. I never pray to be saved in heaven; 
but I do pray to be saved here; saved for this earth, and 
then when we enter upon a new estate we will discover 
that the real salvation has already taken place. That's 
why I like it so well; because the salvation of Christ is a 
reality to be enjoyed in this world. ' 

S:anding one night, with a week's wages in pocket, 
directly between the Young Men's Christian Association 
building in a Western city and a brilliantly lighted saloon, 
I was halting between two opinions as to which I would 
enter. Gospel singing was heard coming from the former; 
other music, winning and seductive, like the voice of the 
Sirens, came from the latter. I finally decided, and en- 
tered the Gospel Inn. It was sweet to be in there, and 
they tieated me like I was a man. Men told in no uncer- 
tain strain how Christ had been their salvation. I was 
impressed, deeply so; and directly arose and said: "Will 
you pray for me? I am a lost man." And they came to 
me, and showed their interest in the stranger who had 
fallen in their midst. I believed in them. While not 
exactly satisfied with my own state of mind I went out, 



SCRIPTUKAL COMMENTS. * 33 

satisfied, however, of one thing, that they desired me to 
become a Christian. Soon the matter was settled in my 
own home, when I did believe that Christ saved me; and 
it has been settled ever since. He is mine and I am His; 
and He knows it. There is where I am resting to-night, 
as 1 write these plain words for the Sunday Observer. 
"Simply toThycrossIcling."Itis the grandest truth of the 
universe, that of the atonement, Christ the just dying for 
the unjust. And to the poor man struggling to rid him- 
self of sin in any of its forms, I present to him Jesus, the 
Savior. Accept Him; go to church, and tell that He is 
your Savior. Telegraph it to your dear old mother that 
Jesus has found you. Speak of it everywhere; not of what 
you have done, but of the "precious blood of Christ." Be 
witnesses for Him. 

So far reaching is the atonement of Christ in its effects 
that we must even believe that the despicable wretch, 
Ryan, who so cruelly, and apparently with premeditation, 
murdered his best friend, would be pardoned his 
fearful sin, if he, with true penitence, would call upon His 
Lord. Tt seems that this statement cannot be true, yet, 
it is the teaching of divine writ. But from all indications 
the murderer is one with whom the Spirit of God does not 
strive. 

There are commentators who teach that Judas, in the 
words: "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the inno- 
cent Mood," possibly showed sufficient godly sorrow for 
bis sin as to bring him within the pale of salvation. I 
know nothing as to the result of Judas' act after His death: 
but of this I am sure, Jesus would have been as willling to 
save even this traitor, if he had exhibited a truly penitent 
spirit, as He was the men who crucified Him, whom He 
prayed God to forgive. 

Jn other planets' there may be sin; but not one of them 
has a Savior whose way of salvation is so plain, simple and 
full as that which God has given us in His only begotten 
Son. "I am the way." He wants to save us now; and 



34 SCRIPTUBAL COMMENTS. 

when He is so anxious why not open the door of a selfish 
and stubborn heart and let Him in? "Behold, I stand at 
the door and knock." 



THANKSGIVING NOTES. 

Text: Selections from the 103rd Psalm. 

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, 
bless his holy name." The word bless is an expression, 
in this instance, of gratitude. "Bless the Lord, O my 
soul, and forget not all His benefits." The tendency of 
man is to forget not only benefactions but the benefactor. 
What are some of the benefits coming from the Lord? 

Let the Psalmist answer. 

1. Forgiveness of iniquity. "Who forgiveth all thine 
iniquities." Iniquity makes an impassable gulf between 
God and man. God will not hear nor associate with a 
man who regards iniquity in his heart. But when he is 
purged of this; when he shows a penitent spirit and for- 
sakes iniquity God promises to forgive all; and the crea- 
ture is then brought to the relation which God would 
have him to occupy and sustain. If I, if the reader, has 
iniquity, let him know that God will forgive it, if he 
comes to Him in the proper spirit. Truly a gracious 
benefit. 

2. Healing diseases. "Who healeth all thy diseases."' 
Wonderful utterance. When a physician is successful in 
bringing a man through a great crisis and saves life, how 
his praise and competency and success are sounded. That 
is right; but there are diseases in the presence of which 
the most competent physician or surgeon must acknowl- 
edge his inability to cure. Here he can do nothing; but 
God takes the case, whatever its nature; and when placed 
in His hands, He heals. To-day there are thousands of 
thankful hearts giving praise for this divine healing. It 



SCKIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 35 

has come to me; for He, and He alone, has wrought so 
great a cure that every day is one of thanksgiving, and 
on my knees, with my little family gathered around me, 
I can thank Him for the radical cure which enables me to 
say, "In whatsoever state I am, I have learned therewith 
to be content." "Thy will be done." If that is not di- 
vine healing, what is it? 

3. Redeemed life. "Who redeemeth thy life from de- 
struction." This is the greatest benefit of all. I object 
to any system of ethics that puts off redemption as the 
crowning act. The great transaction is done, has been 
consummated. We are no longer slaves, but children of 
liberty; bought with the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Standing behind the blood we are safe, and saved; saved 
now. That's the teaching; and well we may call it a ben- 
efit for which to give thanks. No destruction for such 
as have committed themselves to Christ, and are leaning 
on His arm. 

4. Crowned with loving kindness and tender mercies. 
"Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender 
mercies." The whole world should acknowledge this 
statement as true. As I write these words I hear the bells 
ringing for the people to come and say so. But there are 
so many who refuse, in the very face of accumulative evi- 
dence, to give thanks unto Him, who, daily and hourly, 
is pouring blessings without stint upon the just and un- 
just. The loving kindness of God is all around us, while 
His mercy is without limit. Let us give thanks for the 
same. 

5. Good things to eat. "Who satisfieth thy mouth 
with good things." Especially is this true of to-day. 
And many there are who will enjoy these things if the 
stomach be in condition to receive them. One brother, 
a preacher, in sending me a check for books sold, re- 
marked in the letter: "Tell that good woman she must 
have a thanksgiving turkey." The turkey is roasting 
now, and another preacher is coming to help devour the 



36 SCKIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

same. And when we sit at the table to-day we will bow 
our heads and lift our hearts to God in thankfulness for 
the good dinner before us; and of course we will also re- 
member the man of *God who was directed, divinely of 
course, to make the dinner a certainty. And in another 
letter, from a preacher who stands very high in the 
neighborhood of Greensboro, or any other town where 

he may happen to be, were the words: "Brother 

was right in saying that Sister Troy must have a turkey 
for Thanksgiving. She must have one for Christmas also, 
and I will be responsible for one of them." And so the 
good work goes on. The turkey business at our house 
is a fixed fact now. First a chicken, then a chicken again 
(but the brother, a subscriber of The Observer, wrote me 
to say nothing about it; but chickens and turkeys fill me 
up to such an extent that it is hard to keep from it); and 
now, I know not what will come next, probably a quar- 
ter of beef. But last night the Methodist preacher in this 
town sent up some sausage. His wife made it out of pork. 
When a Methodist sends anything of this kind from tht 
parsonage you may count on its being unadulterated. I 
can't eat such things now, but there are others who can, 
and therefore I am thankful. "Who satisfieth thy mouth 
with good things." God grant that none of His children 
shall be hungry to-day ; and if His word is carried out my 
prayer will be answered. 

My little girl said this morning: "Papa, does the Pres- 
ident want everybody to do something for the poor little 
girls and boys to-day?" I replied: "Yes, and God wants 
us to look after them every day." And then I told her 
how good God had been to us, and that in the letters I 
received from friends whom God had raised up to help 
us fight our battles there were few failing to make men- 
tion of her. Her eyes brightened and her face was 
wreathed in smiles. That was thanksgiving. 

Some of my friends say they must' decline to buy my 
book because it contains the contributions furnished a 



SCEIPTUBAL COMMENTS. 37 

Sunday newspaper. That's all right. The commendation 
received from many who read The Observer, and have 
taken my work, gives me great cause for gratitude. "The 
Lord He is good and a stronghold in the time of trou- 
ble." I thank God for a pulpit anywhere; and in writing 
for my department I am doing God's will. 

Our country is full of grateful and thanksgiving people. 
Let everybody say: "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and let 
all that is within me bless his holy name." And now, 
Let everybody say: "Bless the Lord, O my soul;" let 
us abide in the ship, and pull for the shore. God is with us. 



GIVING A HAND. 

"And He took him by the right hand and lifted him up." 
— Acts 3:7. 

It is customary, especially with Methodist preachers, 
at the closing of the year, to take a retrospective glance at 
the year's work, and to give to their hearers a recapitula- 
tion of what they have been, under the Providence of God, 
enabled to accomplish. This Methodist preacher has no 
way of counting converts. His pulpit has been from the 
department of this paper given entirely to the considera- 
tion of religious subjects, and he goes on the witness stand 
and testifies that whether he has been a benefit to others or 
no, great, benefit has come to him by his relation thereto. 
The readers of the Observer will be willing, I am sure, to 
extend charity, so that I may in a personal sense show the 
manner in which this benefit has come. At the beginning' 
of the year, prompted by a goodly spirit, I wrote to> the 
editor and submitted to him the proposition that I might 
conduct a religious department. He assented. I have, 
though bound down by infirmity, done the work honestly 
faithfully, '.ovingly. That it has been of such a nature as 
to commend itself to every one, I have my doubts. That 
it has been acceptable to Him who commands my actions 



38 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

and 3ife, I have no doubt. He has been my comfort, stay 
and guide. In the first days of the year, a Christian 
woman, to whom I once had the honor to preach and to 
visit as her pastor, wrote me that she prayed, even 
amidst afflictions and sorrows, that the New Year 
might be to me the happiest of my life. Her 
prayer is answered. The Year soon to close 
has brought me suffering, trial, pain, but even so, 
it has been full of sunlit days. Why? Because He who 
said: "Come, follow me," has been the guide; and others, 
many of them in sending messages of love and sympathy, 
have thereby taken me by the right hand, and lifted me up. 
I couldn't have made it by myself; but with them and God 
to help, success has come, and I am up. Let me present 
some of the evidence: 

"Nov. 4th, 1897. 
"Dear Bro. Troy: I enclose you money order, the price 
of your new publication from the Charlotte Observer 
office. I have been a constant subscriber to that paper 
ever since the present able editor took charge. I read your 
Sunday communications with great interest. They are 
characterized by originality, freshness and naturalness 
which put them at a refreshing and charming distance 
from the great bulk of modern newspaper articles — fash- 
ioned, for the most part, after the model of the "dry 
bones of the valley." Besides, anyone, especially in our 
itinerant rank, who patiently and cheerfully bears up 
under protracted illness, excites my admiration and deep- 
est sympathies. God bless you and yours, my brother. 



j) 



The foregoing is from the pen of a leading minister of 
the North Carolina Methodist Conference. Subsequently 
he sent the following: 

"Nov. 8th, 1897- 

"My Dear Brother: I preached at yesterday 

morning, and here last night. I made mention of you 
and your nice pamphlet. I secured eight subscriptions 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 39 

there, which you may send me at , and I will dis- 
tribute them to save you the work of writing names and 
sending to each one separately. I secured seventeen 
here, which you may send to me in bulk. I send check 
for the whole number. Tell your good wife that I hope 
she can afford a turkey for Thanksgiving. And that 
dear little girl! Tell her that the multiplication table 
and prayers are both mighty good things, but not to get 
them too badly mixed. With love." 

One who is now preaching in your city, but until 
recently stationed elsewhere, wrote as follows : 

"Dear Brother Troy: I like the tone of your articles 
in the Charlotte Observer. Continue to write. It will do 
you good, and also others." 

Another Christian friend writes: "You were wise in 
selecting the contributions in the Observer to make up 
your book. It is very readable. I enclose one dollar. 
Send me two copies. The change you may keep for 
another chicken, but don't make personal mention." 
The writer of these words is a man I have never met, but 
he will excuse me for saying that God only knows how 
much of happiness his many brotherly letters have 
brought to me. I will promise not to give his name. 

"Dear Troy: Yours, 29th ultimo, with copy of your 
took has been received. I am delighted to have a word 
with you. I have been a reader of your department in 
the Charlotte Observer, and have enjoyed every line 
written by you. I am sorry that you are helpless, but 
who knows but that you may do more for Christ and the 
upbuilding of His kingdom by your affliction. 'Thy 
ways are past rinding out.' I enclose price of book." 

"Dear John: Yours to hand and appreciated. I 
would like to write you at length, but I am very busy 
these days, and my moments are not at my disposal. I 
send a small amount to go to your book fund. As soon 
as I have time, I am going to read your book and see how 
you look at things. 'May God bless you and help you.' 



40 SCKIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

— Gal. 1:3, 4, 5." The "small amount" was much to me; 
and though he gave it for one book, it has not caused any 
head expansion, and they still go at the old price. 

"My Dear John: Yes, I've read your book with 
much pleasure, and aheerfully enclose the amount. I 
cherish the hope of meeting you again on this side of the 
river; but should I not, God grant that we may meet in 
that upper and better world where there is no» more part- 
ing. I can crave no worthier benediction for you than 
that you may continue in the same life work as evinced 
by your writings." 

"My Dear Sir: I have read your book with much 
pleasure, and trust with much profit. I trust your physi- 
cians are mistaken as to your condition, and that you 
will soon be a strong man again, and be able for many 
years to carry on the good work you were doing so suc- 
cessfully when your health gave way." 

"My Dear John: I enclose with much pleasure the 
price of your book. I read the contributions as they ap- 
peared, and always enjoyed them, for two reasons: 1st, 
They have genuine merit; and, 2nd, they were from the 
pen of a« old and much valued friend. You are one min- 
ister of the Gospel of Jesus in whom I have absolute con- 
fidence. I have always thought of your affliction with 
sincere regret." 

This letter is from one of the ablest lawyers in the State. 
He is of course my friend. He is a man who 
has never embraced religion from the orthodox 
standpoint. His words: "You are one minister 
in whom I have absolute confidence," touch me deep- 
ly. If I had nothing else in the world as an incentive to 
be "faithful unto death," these words would be, that I 
might never show the white feather to Him. 

"My Dear John: Your letter gave me great pleasure. 
It recalled scenes that are so happy and faces that I love. 
I have thought of you often, and it gives me pain to think 
of your condition. Your Christian resignation is indeed 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 41 

beautiful. It would be a sincere pleasure to meet you. 
Your picture in your pamphlet shows that you have 

changed very little God bless you, John, and answer 

the prayer of your dear little child. Kiss her for me, and 
receive the warm love of your old friend." This friend 
has recently sent out an address that has been read all 
over the State. 

"Dear John: I assure you, my dear boy (I say boy, as 
I think of you as such, and my love for you is as fresh and 
true as it was when we were boys together), if I do not 
write you long letters, you will take the will for the deed.. 
My friendship for my old friend and room-mate is just 
as strong as it was when we would say 'Good-bye' for a 
few short weeks, and then return again. 

"Yes, it does me good to hear of the good work you 
are doing. The first opportunity, 1 am going to avail 
myself of your kind invitation and come to see you. 

"Why can't you come and see me? If you will come 
and spend a few days and preach a sermon for us, I will 
pay all expenses. I hope I am not out of order in offer- 
ing to do this. I believe that is the custom." After con- 
cluding, he adds a P. S. : "Send me ten more of your 
books." That was the third order for ten. I wrote him 
his orders received prompt attention. As to his being 
out of order in offering to pay my expenses to his dear 
home, I replied that I would answer by an incident. A 
friend called when I was quite ill at Asheville. With 
some hesitation he said: "Brother Troy, would I insult 
you if I offered you two dollars?" I replied: "You 
must think I am mighty easily insulted." If I get strong, 
sufficiently, I will go and see him a few days, and we will 
talk of the sweet long ago when we were happy boys at 
the old H. M. A., of the fried chicken and big biscuit at 
Abel Payne's and Billy Bingham's. When the shades of 
evening have fallen about us, I will ask the privilege of 
bowing with him and family about the household altar, 
and offer a prayer, thanking God for so true a friend, and 



42 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

with faith will ask that His presence shall forever abide 
not only upon this home, but upon all who in the name 
of Christ have extended the right hand. 

These letters are not reported in full. They are from rep- 
resentative men from the mountains to the sea, preachers, 
lawyers, manufacturers. They are Episcopalian, Baptist, 
Presbyterian, Methodist. It is a case that draws the 
golden chain of Christian brotherhood. I do not know 
how the sentiment of the letters may strike others, but 
as for me they seem to breathe the spirit of Christian edu- 
cation; and as Dr. Brooks prayed, so do I, "God bless 
Christian education, from whatever source it may come." 
Amen! I ask no grander honor than the friendship and 
confidence of these men. These are only a part of what 
the mail has brought to me. Whether my work in The 
Observer has been of pleasure to them they are the best 
judges. They all read it. The proposition was at the 
beginning that I had been benefitted, blessed, lifted up. 
The evidence is before you, gentlemen of the jury. I rest 
the case. 

In conclusion, I have to say that as the beneficiary of 
the kind expressions, and the substantial benefactions ac- 
companying them, I have not been so selfishly absorbed 
in the latter as to lose sight of the real Benefactor. It 
is all of God; and, like the one of the ten which was 
cleansed, I this day have "turned back" to glorify God. 
If I be so fortunate as to have a part in the first resurrec- 
tion, I shall say to my Master, of many: 'They took me 
by the right hand and lifted me up." And His reply, "In- 
asmuch as ye did unto one of the least of these, my breth- 
ren, ye have done it unto me." 

Should Conference meet to-morrow, my report would 
be full: "Have had a good year, Bishop." And then, 
when the appointments were being read, should there fall 
from the lips of the honored man: "Religious Depart- 
ment, Charlotte Observer, John C. Troy," I would be 
satisfied, and thank God for the appointment, with the 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 43 

prayer that I might give a service beneficial to humanity, 
and this would be for God. 

Christmas is coming; mine is already on, and before 
it is over I expect to be full of joy. "These things have 
I spoken unto- you, that my joy might remain in you, and 
that your joy might be full." John 15:11. 

A happy Christmas to you all. God be with you till 
we meet again, which I hope will be next Sunday. 



THE WISE MEN SEEKING JESUS.— CHRISTMAS 

SERMON. 

Text: ''Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of 
Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold, there came 
wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, where is he 
that is born King of the Jews?" Matt. 2:1-2. 

A great many men spend time, unnecessarily, in at- 
tempting to solve puzzles. I am no puzzle worker. Never 
was so inclined. If I were, would soon have to give up 
the attempt on account of a "swimming in the head." 
I once knew a Sunday school teacher who spent twenty 
minutes in discussing with the class the question, which 
two of the disciples they were whom the Lord sent for 
the colt. The thing was lively for a while, and every man 
riad his opinion on the matter, one man going so far into 
the mystery as to state that he didn't know but "what 
Judas was one of 'em." The point, of course, is that the 
Lord had need of the colt, and from that the practical 
conclusions were drawn. But the teacher didn't see it 
that way, for there are teachers and teachers. So, in our 
text, it doesn't make a particle of difference from what 
part of the earth the wise come. That is not the point. 
"Tradition says that there were three Kings, which, how- 
ever, we dismiss by naming it. They might be kings, and 
they might be subjects; they might be three and they 



44 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

might be thirteen, for aught the evangelist says on the 
subject." That has nothing to do with it. The point is, 
they came, and they were wise in doing so, because they 
were seeking a Savior. 

It has been many centuries since the event recorded 
in the text. But from that day until this the truly wise 
have been seeking Christ. Thousands, aye, millions, have 
found Him; and all who seek Him, with the whole heart, 
will never fail in their search. The cry is made that even 
after all these centuries of a preached Christ, wickedness 
still abounds (and it will continue so until the coming of 
Christ a second time), and therefore, the Gospel is a fail- 
ure. "Many are called, but few are chosen." The doc- 
tor who wanted to show his smartness said to the minis- 
ter: "You parsons have been preaching for hundreds of 
years, and there is as much wickedness as ever." "True," 
said the minister, "you doctors have been doctoring for 
a thousand or more years, and there is as much sickness 
as ever." But medicine and Christianity are both pro- 
gressing, even though the doctor and minister in the in- 
cident mentioned may both have spoken the truth, a fact 
which we may well remember and rejoice in during these 
Christmas times. It was a long and likely perilous jour- 
ney undertaken by the wise men, but nevertheless they 
found Him whom they sought. And when they found 
Him, what was the result? 

i. They worshipped Him. "And when they were 
come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary,, 
his mother, and fell down and worshipped him." That 
is the idea. The truly great and wise are the worshippers 
of Jesus. We may well join in this worship. The posi- 
tion of these men indicated humility. "Fell down" sig- 
nifies humility- Without it there can be no proper wor- 
ship, either of the Child or the King Jesus. He was full 
of this grace Himself. His worshippers are likewise. It 
was a memorable spectacle, that of these men falling 
down at the feet of an infant. They are only the first 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 45 

fruits; the harvest is to follow. The princes of this world 
are to bow before Him. Now they make obeisance to 
one another. They worship success; they respect station 
and pomp. But the mighty ones of the earth are to learn 
that there is something better than success and nobler 
than rank. 

" The rank is but the guinea stamp ; 
The man's the gowd for a' that." 

Rich men are learning to acknowledge the greatness of 
the babe born in the stable. But as yet the number is 
small. They must worship Christ. The whole world 
must worship Him if they would learn the lesson of the 
day which is celebrated as the anniversary of His birth. 
"As surely as the wise men went to Bethlehem to wor- 
ship the mystery of the Incarnation, the wise men of the 
future will follow in their track." This does not neces- 
sarily mean learning. The men of the East were not wise 
simply because of their learning, but for the reason that 
they came seeking Jesus. Seek Him earnestly, seek Him 
reverently, and when you have found Him, as you surely 
will, worship Him. 

2. They presented gifts. "And when they had opened 
their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold and 
frankincense, and myrrh." Do you see? It means 
Christian giving. To whom? To Jesus. The Gospel 
breaks the heart, then the band on the pocket-book is 
also broken by a willing hand, and the contents poured 
out for Him; for His sake. The Christmas card is all 
right. It signifies. But the hungry man would enjoy a 
beefsteak more. The barefoot child might admire the 
printing and the beautiful design, but at the same time 
cry: "My feet are cold." A friend writes: "Xmas 
cards are very well, but I was never in much favor of them. 
Something more substantial I think preferable, especial- 
ly to those in the humble walks of life." Wise man. 

Do you hear, ye rich men? Gold! gold! gold! and 
frankincense and myrrh. Here is the culmination of re- 



46 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

ligion, the union of devotion and service. The angels, 
according to the vision, have wings (your attention, any 
who may be in doubt); but underneath the wings they 
have hands. They haye wings wherewith to cover them- 
selves in the Divine Presence; they have hands wherewith 
to make themselves useful in the Divine service. The 
Wing and the Hand; godliness first, usefulness after- 
wards. "They fell down and worshipped Him" — there 
you see godliness; ''and when they had opened their treas- 
ures they presented Him gifts" — there you see usefulness. 
Some Christians seem to have wings but no hands ; others 
seem to have hands but no wings; but the perfect Chris- 
tian, like the perfect angel, has wings and hands; wings 
to join in the worship of God; hands to serve in the 
Church of God! 

Finally, they were guided by a star. "And lo, the star, 
which they saw in the East, went before them until it 
came and stood over where the young child was." Jesus 
is now the star. The bright and morning star. Let the 
light of that star lead you where He would have you go. 
I quote from The Observer of the 12th instant: 

"He gave the star of love to shine, 

Through all this earthlv night, 
'Love one another,' was the theme, 

He taught as best and right. 
'If to the least of these you give 

Meat, drink and clothes,' said He, 
'Then your reward shall be the same 

As if ye gave to Me ' 

"Don't look on high for Bethlehem's star. 

You'll never find it there, 
But go to some lone widow's cot, 

And hear her humble prayer. 
Then from your storehouse (God has filled) 

Take from shelf and jar 
And in those thankful eyes you'll see 

The light of Bethlehem's star." 

This is "homemade poetry," but it is to the point. With 
it I conclude. Blessed Christmas and happy New Year 
to all my readers. God be with you. Amen. 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 47 

IT IS THE LORD WHO HELPS. 

"Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Miz- 
peh and Shen, and called the name of it Eben-ezer, say- 
ing, Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." I. Samuel 7:12. 

We will open the service to-day by singing hymn No. 
708 in the Methodist hymnal, and which may be found, 
also, in any other hymn book. 

"Remark, my soul, the narrow bound, 

Of the revolving year; 
How swift the weeks complete their round ! 

How short the months appear ! 

"So fast eternity comes on — 

And that important day, 
When all that mortal life hath done, 

God's judgment shall survey. 

"Waken, O God, my careless heart, 

Its great concern to see, 
That I may act the Christian part, 

To give the year to thee." 

"Twenty years before the event recorded in the text 
the Israelites had suffered a great defeat at the hands of 
the Philistines, over whom they now have obtained a 
great victory. To connect the two lessons of these two 
events, Samuel, the prophet, set up a memorial stone, 
calling it Eben-ezer, the stone of help. Into the first 
battle the Israelites had entered with great dependence 
upon the ark. They sent and brought the ark from Shi- 
loh. But the ark did not save them. The Lord did not 
give His glory to another, not even to that which repre- 
sents His presence and His fidelity. In this latter case 
they fell to prayer, for the Philistines were upon them 
again. They had the good sense and piety to repent of 
their former blunder. They were victorious. Samuel 
said, when he erected his Eben-ezer monument, 'Hither- 
to hath the Lord helped us.' There was a sense in which 
the very defeat to which the Lord had left them in the 
first instance had been a help to them. It showed them 



48 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

the folly of depending upon the mere externals of reli- 
gion, and the necessity of serving the Lord faithfully in 
spirit and in truth. The prophet desired to keep before 
the eyes of the people a visible reminder of the defeat and 
the victory, and the lessons which they taught. He said 
also, Hitherto. The word looks backward and forward. 
Retrospective, it is gratitude; prospective, it is caution. 
Will He help us always? How shall we keep that mighty 
help?" — Dr. Deems. 

By belief and trust in the Word of God. His promises 
are not like man's. When He says, I am with you even 
unto the end of the world, my conviction is, He will be. 

The old earth has made its annual run, coming in Fri- 
day night to the station on time, but tarried not a sec- 
ond. The same track has been in use for these yearly 
journeys since God stretched it in space. It has stood the 
voyages of time, showing the perfection of Him who con- 
trols. The train was full one year ago yesterday; it is 
full to-day. Some who started with us have gone into 
the sleeping department and are resting without dis- 
turbance. One father said: "Oh, that Mary would come 
back, just for a little while, that I might take her once 
more in my arms, and tell her how her father loved her." 
And yet, Mary, sweet girl, is far better off than they who 
are conscious that the world still moves. They are not 
far from us. We look up at the stars and think they have 
gone up there. No, they are here. Their bodies are ly- 
ing, not in the cold, but in the warm earth. Not subject 
to pain, sorrow, trouble. Under the violets and roses 
they sleep. Precious thought, they are still with us. It 
is true we are sad when they say "Good night," and enter 
the sleeper. But then we know that some time, though 
of the hour we are ignorant, the old planet will run into 
the round house exactly on schedule, but for the last 
time. Then they who are sleeping will awake, and the 
others who have not slept will be changed; in a moment, 
in the twinkling of an eye; and the conductor will stand 



SOEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 49 

with outstretched hands, saying: "Come, ye blessed of 
my Father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you 
from the foundation of the world." Train has come to a 
full stop. Every passenger happy, for the journey is 
made. God Almighty kept His hand on the lever, and 
His only begotten Son was in charge of the train. "Hith- 
erto hath the Lord helped us." "Beloved, now are we 
the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall 
be; but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be 
like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." 

Of course Jesus has paid the fare. We hold a through 
ticket, if we believe it. No stop-over permitted. While 
the service is magnificently and perfectly equipped, it is 
really a work train. And as there are many sick, trou- 
bled and pain-stricken passengers, those who are not in 
such condition are expected to minister in such ways as 
will cause the ones in trouble to forget their pain and sick- 
ness. The conductor, the Great Physician, is always on 
duty; but much is to be done, and He gives explicit di- 
rections. It is night. One passenger has taken a berth 
ior a short nap. All is quiet. He cannot sleep. He hears 
the swish! swish! swish! of the blood as it pours back 
through a leaking valve of the heart ; and he thinks, Am I 
about to enter the sleeper for good. He prays as did the 
poor man, in the McAuley Mission, who came in re- 
sponse to the invitation that Jesus would save him, "O 
God, give me sleep." And directly it seems that the 
prayer will be answered. Tired nature sinks into the arms 
of gentle slumber, and in the morning he awakes refresh- 
ed by the few hours of unconsciousness. The sun is shin- 
ing brightly around his berth; he hears the voice of a 
faithful one preparing the morning meal; the swishing 
noise has subsided, and he rises from the place of recent 
repose and renewed strength for the work of the day, and 
says: "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." And think- 
ing of the morning when the eternal day has dawned for 
all on board, either asleep- or awake, he sings with the 



50 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

Psalmist: "I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy 
likeness." Directly there is handed him a note from an- 
other invalid passenger, which reads: "He asked me to 
write and give you .his sympathy and love; and he said 
your words were to him more dear than any ever said of 
him and his work before," and the writer concluded: "Be- 
lieve me one who has faith in your faith." Lord make me 
worthy of this confidence reposed in me by a fellow man. 
"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us;" for without His aid 
these things could have never been. And that faith which 
we all need is the faith of the Son of God who loved us. 
and gave Himself for us. The same faith that Christ had 
is ours as a gift if we want it. And by its exercise we may 
ever have the help of which the text speaks — the faith of 
Jesus. 

Trembling, timid, Christian passenger on the train to 
eternity; poor, weak, wavering sinner, let me point you 
this day, of the New Year, to the promises of God, and 
cry: "All you need is there." I know it, or I wouldn't 
say it. His word is inexhaustible. His law and statutes 
are periect and plain. The word quivers with tenderness. 
Wait on Him; commit your way unto Him; delight your- 
self in Him, and the desires of your heart He will give you.. 
Try it. Be somebody for God and humanity. Here is a 
promise: "I will make thee a blessing." That is His 
promise as to what we may be to others as the world goes 
round and round. No Christian can be selfish. Let us 
make this a new heaven and a new earth where dwelleth 
righteousness. Let us be reflectors. Patient and tran- 
quil, standing before Him, ready to do or suffer His will, 
will make this the gladdest, happiest year of all our lives. 
"My soul, wait thou only upon God; my expectation is 
from Him." 

Don't make any new resolutions. Do like the religious 
Conferences, Conventions, etc., which pass the same ones 
at every annual session. Read over the old ones and get 
about keeping some of them. I shall not turn over a new 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 51 

leaf; neither would I advise it to others. Claim the prom- 
ises of God and with His aid you may make the old leaf, 
all blotted with resolutions never kept, white as snow. 
And then you may write: "I live, yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me." 

The editor of The Observer has said I may have another 
year's engagement. How precious is the thought that 
here, in the providence of God I am permitted to preach. 
In no perfunctory manner I ask the prayers of my read- 
ers. Help me to be a blessing to you. Write to me when 
you wish. Tell me anything that would have a tendency 
to help humanity, the cause of God. 

When you pray, sometimes "remember me." I am sure 
many do. What a blessing! What a blessing the work 
has been to the one who has been called to conduct it. 

Don't be uneasy about the old planet running ofi: its 
track. You keep in line with the same precision that it 
does and you will be certain to make the journey with- 
out danger or misfortune. I am not caring so much for 
a triumphant death as I am to live a triumphant life. "I 
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I 
have kept the faith," was the evidence of a victory in life. 

The New Year 'is before us. For all it should mean 
faith in Christ. To many it will fetch sorrow, disappoint- 
ment, reverses; to many gladness, fortune, earthly happi- 
ness. To many death. But we may meet even what 
might seem the worst possible fate and still have it spo- 
ken the best year of our lives. But howsoever it be, God 
leads. He has always been the help. I asked at the be- 
ginning, in the words of another: "How shall we keep 
that mighty help?" In conclusion, I answer in the words 
of another, one who knows: "Follow Me." 

"We know not what lies before us 

In months that are to come, 
Nor into what varied texture 

Our web of life shall run, 
But we ask Thee to guide each thread 

Until the whole be wrought 



52 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

To complete the perfect pattern 
Of thine own perfect thought. 

"We discern not in our blindness, 

The seeming good from ill, 
So we ask I'hee, Heavenly Father, 

To work Thy perfect will : 
And we lean, with a child-like trust, 

On Thy strong arm of love, 
Assured that Thy loving kindness 

Will lead to Thy home above, 
For the pillar of fire by night 

And the pillar of cloud by day, 
Shall be our guiding light, 

Shall be our constant stay." 



OPTIMIST VS. PESSIMIST. 

An optimist is one who holds that all events are or- 
dered for the best. Pessimist would mean the reverse. 
''Neither character is right standing alone." The first 
stands upon such Scriptural matter as "all things work 
together for good to them that love God." It is not pos- 
sible for us to believe that this passage is of universal ap- 
plication. There are things going on every day that are 
only portentous of every day evil. We are not going to 
attempt any discussion. We steer clear of the domain of 
mysteries and metaphysics, and stand in the sunlight of 
God's great love, and try to believe that even out of the 
strife, discord and rottenness generally to be found in the 
affairs of our beloved country — and notwithstanding that 
in; n who all their lives have stood high in the Church are 
proving false to trusts reposed in them by the public- 
God will yet fetch order and justice to such as have been 
wronged, and let good come, even from the evil with 
which we are cursed. 

An esteemed personal correspondent in a recent letter 
says, and pertinently at that: "Take out of the Bible all 
that would be now called pessimism and what would be 



SCRIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 53 

left in it?" It would likely be in the condition of the 
Duke's Bible who invariably had everything cut out not 
in accord with his character and life. And one morning, 
in response to the Duke's impatient question: 

"Hans, why don't you read?" 

Came the quick reply from Hans: "Please your honor, 
it's about all cut out." 

The Bible predicts perilous times, when iniquity shall 
abound, when men shall become lovers of self, when the 
love of many shall wax cold and when the preachers de- 
clare against such evil as predicted by the Bible and warn 
all of the disastrous results which are sure to follow, some- 
body is ready to cry out: "Pessimist!" If this kind of 
sermons are not in accord with the truth, then our Sa- 
vior must come in for His share of censure as a pessimist. 
For example, just get your Bible and read His verdict 
after dissecting a human heart. What did He call it, and 
what did He say it was filled with? To dwell upon such 
things would be called pessimism. 

Optimist vs. Pessimist. My friend who writes me that 
"neither character is right standing alone" is correct. It's 
best to take middle ground. Pessimism does not mean 
that all events are ordered for the worst, but that all are 
not for the best. When the ship is in the fog it is best to 
sound the fog horn. It wards off danger. The old ship 
of Zion and the ship of State are caught some time in the 
fog. Is the horn needed? Is there a fog in North Caro- 
lina to-day, or only a light mist that will soon pass away? 
I leave it with you. 



WALKING WITH GOD. 

"And Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God 
took him." Gen. 5:24. 

Careful reading of the fifth chapter of Genesis will 
prove both interesting and instructive. The average 
reader has probably not noted the fact that Adam, who 



54: SCKIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

was the first, lived to see the day of Lamech, the ninth 
patriarch, and at his death (Adam's) there were still liv- 
ing Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Me- 
thuselah and Lamech. All of these patriarchs, except 
Enoch, lived to be very, very old men, the majority over 
nine hundred years. While it is true their days extended 
into many centuries, it is not recorded that they were dis- 
tinguished by any special usefulness to their generation, 
more than they "begat sons and daughters," and then 
died. The distinguishing mark in their existence is that 
they were permitted to live a long time without being of 
much account in mitigating the fearful evils then existing, 
or even attempting to do so. Reading this chapter is 
like walking through a cemetery, and noting the epitaphs 
on the stones, though in these cases the historian dis- 
poses of his subjects with unusually brief remarks. They 
lived; "begat sons and daughters;" they died. There he 
leaves them, without attempt to put polish on their lives, 
or even hint at their final destiny after death. The mo- 
notony or sameness of expression is relieved by the dis- 
position made of Enoch. He "walked with God; and was 
not; for God took him." "And all the days of Enoch 
were three hundred and sixty and five years." His de- 
parture from earthly scenes being next to that of Adam. 
The world, in which Enoch lived and which is also our 
present dwelling place, is taught by this good man's life: 
i. That a long earthly existence is not necessary to a 
man's becoming great. Enoch was a great man because 
a good man. Greatness and goodness are synonyms. He 
lived but a short time, compared with his contemporar- 
ies; only 365 years. It is said that he lived sixty and five 
years and begat Methuselah, after which he went on be- 
ing faithful to duty, domestic and religious, and walked 
with God 300 years. It was a most remarkable life. 
Though called away when in the prime and strength of 
manhood, the historian gives to him a testimony denied 
any one of his ancestors, and which, for all o-eiierations 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 55 

to come, will be read, studied and used in demonstration 
of the fact that walking with God, and leaving footprints 
in the sands of time, which others may see and follow for 
their good, are not dependent upon a life of many years. 

2. The life of Enoch teaches that man is not the crea- 
ture of circumstances. That with God they may rise 
above contaminating influences, and live in an atmos- 
phere purified by a close association with God. The times 
in which Enoch lived are characterized in the Bible as 
being fearful in the extreme. The description is as fol- 
lows: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was 
great in the earth, and that every imagination of the 
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it 
repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, 
and it grieved him at his heart." Gen. 6:5-6. Fearful 
pictures. Everything about man was wicked. The very 
fountain head, from which flowed his ideas, imagination, 
conception, perception, was a reservoir of corruption; and 
God was grieved that he had even made man, and because 
His Spirit had ceased to strive with him, He determined 
to destroy him from the face of the earth. In this dark 
night of sin Enoch was the one star that shone upon the 
blackness with which he was surrounded; he was the one 
creature whose life was as a flower blooming in a wilder- 
ness; and notwithstanding the adverse environment, he 
kept close to his Maker, rose above the baneful surround- 
ings and "walked with God." Men, in this generation of 
churches, religious societies, the revealed Word of God, 
hundreds of beneficent resources, refuse to become the 
followers of the Lord, and give as their reason that it is 
impossible for them to maintain a correct life. The ex- 
cuse is not tenable. It is an evasion, a subterfuge. They 
refuse to walk with God because, like the majority of peo- 
ple in Enoch's day, they prefer sinful indulgence to reli- 
gious consecration and devotion to God. No doubt 
Enoch had his temptations, but he endured them ; and we 
have the same power of resistance. "Blessed is the man 



56 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

who endureth temptation.'' Man's extremity is God's 
opportunity. God is ever close to the one who realizes his 
danger and calls for help. Whoever calls upon the name 
of the Lord has the promise given him that he shall be 
saved. I have heard such expressions: "A railroad man, 
a lawyer, a doctor, a clerk, etc., cannot become Christians. 
Their circumstances are against such a life." Thousands 
of these very professions and callings are walking with 
God; others may do likewise. Enoch had no Bible, and 
living in what is called the darkest age of the world, his 
life was a demonstration of what a man may be, who with- 
out qualification or reservation, puts himself in the hands 
of God. Such a man was Enoch ; such a man you may be. 
God then becomes to us as a pillar of cloud by day, and a 
pillar of fire by night. There is no danger when we take 
Him as a companion. He is the best friend I have ever 
tried. He will be your best friend. Do not grieve Him 
by resisting His Spirit. 

3, The life of Enoch teaches that we may know when 
we are pleasing God. "Before his translation, he had 
this testimony that he pleased God." How precious is 
the testimony, when we know that we mean to do the cor- 
rect thing and are striving for the good of our fellow; that 
we desire to be helpful, and that our words, written or 
spoken, and sympathy, and all these things, are appreci- 
ated. But how great the consolation of a conscience void 
of offense, and which is but the mouthpiece of Him in 
whom we live and move, telling us He is pleased. Enoch 
had this testimony. It is not likely it came to him in any 
miraculous manner. He knew that he pleased his Creator 
because they walked together daily; communed with each 
other, and between them there was no discord, but per- 
fect agreement. For how can two walk together all the 
time except they are agreed? How sweet to me the 
thought, and not alone to me, but to all who profess His 
name, that He is pleased. We may make mistakes, be 
misunderstood, called out of order, not loyal; and even by 



SCRIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 57 

some, who should be better disposed to their fellows, 
cursed and anathematized. These things are painful and 
cause us to be troubled about many things; but if God be 
for us, if we are on His side and are walking with Him, 
and have the knowledge that He is pleased, why need we 
fear? No necessity; everything will come right. Of this 
we should assure ourselves that if we are pleasing God we 
are on the right track. I love to please my friends, my 
loved ones; but the knowledge that I am pleasing God is 
above all things incomparably delightful. There are other 
lessons that Enoch's life teaches; we will reserve them for 
a future day. But the little girl said: "And Enoch walk- 
ed with God, and kept on walking with God, and one day 
he got so far from the sinful world that God just opened 
the beautiful gate and said, 'Come, Enoch, come home 
with me.' " "And he was not; for God took him." That 
was the end of it. He never saw death. Glorious trans- 
lation! Dr. Clarke, commentator, sees no reason why 
there should not be many more exactly like it, if men did 
not receive the grace of God in vain. Neither do I. 

Have you been straying from the fold? Are you now 
lacking in pure religious enjoyment? Is the Bible a dull, 
uninteresting book? Are the services at the sanctuary 
distasteful? Do you spend much time in serious medita- 
tion? In prayer? Is it not well this Sunday morning that 
you make careful examinations and see just what relation 
your present life indicates you are sustaining to God? If 
not, you need to mend your ways. Let us sing and pray. 

"O for a closer walk with God, 

A calm and heavenly frame, 
A light to shine upon the road 

That leads me to the Lamb. 

"What peaceful hours I once enjoyed 

How sweet their memory still, 
But they have left an aching void 

The world can never fill. 

"The dearest idol I have known, 
Whate'er that idol be, 



58 SCEIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

Help me to tear it from thy throne, 
And worship only Thee. 

"So shall my walk be close with God, 
Calm and serene my frame ; 

So purer light shall mark the road 
That leads me to the Lamb." 



WAITING ON THE LORD. 

"Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall 
strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord." Psalm 
27:14. 

David at different times was guilty of very abominable 
conduct, and the fact that the mistakes of the great men 
are not covered from the view of the reader is in evidence 
that there is a chance for any man who, as David, will con- 
fess his mistakes, repent of the same and stay quit. This 
thing of continued wrong doing, however, is not what 
God desires to see in His creatures. One of the worst 
sins, for which mankind, generally, can be tried and con- 
victed, without the jury leaving the box, is the violation 
of that law commanding the cultivation of patience. 
Never in the history of this country has the law of pa- 
tience been so flagrantly violated as within the past three 
months by the American people in their eagerness to force 
the President of these United States to go to war, when 
in no condition to meet a formidable enemy. They were 
actually incensed at the Chief Executive's patience, but 
he waited; and in doing so the Lord strengthened his 
heart; and the Department of War had the opportunity 
to strengthen the coast defenses and thoroughly equip 
the army and navy. That is what the Psalmist means 
when he says: "Wait on the Lord." There is no doubt 
that the Lord's way is the best, though, ordinarily speak- 
ing, the majority think otherwise. In this Psalm the 
writer prays to be delivered from his enemies, yet is con- 
fident that though an host should encamp against and 



SCBLPTCJKAL COMMENTS. 59 

war be brought upon him, that his heart will not fear. It 
is likely that at the time of the text he was being put to 
the sword by King Saul; but, notwithstanding, he believ- 
ed to see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the liv- 
ing; and this thought nerved him. Had it not been for 
faith in God, when contending with his enemies, he would 
have proven no good. He would have fainted and the 
enemy, of course, been victorious over him. He was in 
much trouble, and his heart needed strengthening for the 
conflict; this he knew would come to him, for there was 
one on his side, greater than any enemy. Therefore he 
waited on the Lord. It is a pleasure the conservative ele- 
ment, which usually is sufficient to check undue precipi- 
tancy in matters of much import as relating to the weal 
of the people, enjoys in realizing that at our head stands 
one who, notwithstanding clamor, continued to carry out 
with patience what he deemed best for the people whom 
he serves. And for this reason God must be with us, for 
surely He stands for the right. The people will not faint 
in the fight; and if carried in His name, humanitarianism, 
then His side will be our side and the result easy to fore- 
cast. During the war between the States an ardent 
Christian gentleman said to President Lincoln: "I trust, 
sir, in this war, that the Lord is on our side." The pious 
man raised his eyes in horror when the matter-of-fact 
Abraham replied: "That is not what most concerns me in 
the fight." But the look of horror disappeared as the 
President concluded: "The question with me is are we 
on the Lord's side?" So, then, if it's the Lord's side, His 
battle, which the American people are going to fight, 
there can be no doubt. We will not all go to the war with 
Spain. But let it not be forgotten that in the everyday con- 
duct of life's warfare there come moments requiring as 
much refinement of courage as is necessary in sanguinary 
warfare. Then in all of its vicissitudes, as the winds blow 
hard and temptations appear, suggesting the putting 
aside of the Christian armor, remember your captain ; "be 



60 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart." 
The preacher, the teacher, men and women, in every re- 
lation of the battle, find themselves to be weak and faint- 
ing. These direful tonsequences result from a lack of pa- 
tience. Don't be in a hurry. Take it easy. "Wait on 
the Lord," and never give way in the presence of any hu- 
man to the awful sin of impatience. God is going to do 
his part, and His goodness will be seen in the land of the 
living. The Psalmist exhorts that all would chisel them- 
selves after His model in the matter of patience. It 
doesn't make a particle of difference what the cause may 
be that produces fretting and worry. Down with it ! The 
habit is sinful. It distresses yourself as well as all others 
with whom you come in touch. "Wait, I say, on the 
Lord." That is, act like a man. One who does not fear 
to do anything but evil. As you wait on the Lord remem- 
ber that it does not mean sitting at home or by the road- 
side waiting for the coming of the Lord while the grass is 
choking the corn growth and the bugs eating the potato 
vines. It means to hope, to believe, work and fear not. 
They "that wait upon the Lord shall never be confounded. 
Religion, the whole of it, is taking God at His word. No 
man who disobeys or fails to obey the Word can be said 
to trust in God. The poorest excuse, to be called a crea- 
ture of God, is that man or woman continually making 
exhibition of their lack of trust by complaint with envi- 
ronment and impatient in even the small details inci- 
dent to life. The heart has no strength, no character, no 
courage. It never waits on the Lord. The winds of ad- 
versity blow harder than you have the ability to stand. 
You are mad because you sleep on a cot. Because you are 
not living in a palace and surrounded by a retinue of ser- 
vants. Because you don't make $100 per month when 
probably you are not worth $10. Impatient in all things, 
and for this reason you find nothing good in life. What 
a battle it is to fight. And you make such a poor soldier. 
Why? You are not following the captain. Not waiting 



SCEIPTURAL COMMENTS. 61 

on Him. Not taking nor obeying His order. Whatever 
be your trouble, take it to Him. Go on with your work; 
lovingly, patiently, faithfully. "Wait, I say, on the Lord." 
It will all come right, and before the end the cross you 
carry will fade out of sight, and the crown of the hero or 
heroine be yours even before the day of final reward. 



A LIFE TIME WAR. 

"Fight the good fight of faith." I. Timothy 6:12. 

Some preachers, and others folks, who don't know any 
better, will tell you that it is easy to be a Christian. Ac- 
cording to my experience and observation it takes grit 
to make a never-flagging soldier of the cross. To be a 
Christian is more difficult than sawing wood or fighting 
Spaniards. Without faith it is impossible to please God. 
And to have a perfect faith, in these fast times, fighting is 
essential. The soldier who, a few days ago, refused to ac- 
cept a copy of the New Testament, when offered him by 
the Bible distributing committee, because it contained 
nothing in it on war, was a little off. Had he turned to 
Matt. 10th and Luke 12th he would have found words 
like these: "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on 
earth? I tell you, nay; but rather division. 

"For from henceforth there shall be five in one house 
divided, three against two, and two against three. 

"The father shall be divided against the son, and the 
son against the father; the mother against the daughter, 
and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law 
against the daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law 
against the mother-in-law." 

Of course the war here described is of a different char 
acter from that to which the young soldier referred; but 
it is a war more cruel than the sanguinary. The words of 
the Savior here quoted were true at the time of utter- 
ance, and after nineteen centuries, nearly, of Gospel 



62 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

preaching which is intended to establish peace on earth, 
it is to be regretted that they are not one whit less true 
to-day. And because of the truth contained therein is one 
of the urgent reasons why Christians should fight the 
good fight of faith. This fight implies severe and varied 
conflicts. Among them we note: 

i. That at times it becomes necessary for a Christian 
soldier to fight his own people. "And a man's foes shall 
be they of his own household." This is a fearful truth. I 
know a woman of rare intelligence and culture. She has 
passed the limit and is living on borrowed time. Her de- 
sire it to do good and be faithful; but her own children 
stand in her way, and actually make sport of her religious 
inclinations. And because she desires to> give of her 
means to those who have been less fortunate her children 
tell her that she is non compos and threaten to have her 
legally so adjudged, and a guardian appointed to look af- 
ter her estate. We have seen families divided and a great 
stew in consequence of religious life on the part of one or 
more members of the family. 

2. It becomes necessary for the consecrated preacher 
and layman to engage in conflict with his own church 
when he sees clearly the tendency to extreme worldliness. 
Here are some words recently written to me by a layman. 
And anticipating that some church brother, who easily 
gets hot under the collar when the church is arraigned 
and calls him who sees the spots, wrinkles and blemishes 
"a crank," I will say that my correspondent is not that 
kind of a machine, but a consecrated layman belonging 
to "a peculiar people, zealous of good works." He writes 
as follows: 

"Fashion, worldliness, love of money, dependence on 
rich church members, 'special attractions' in the way of 
pipe organs, orchestras, operatic music without the spirit 
of true worship, pride of denomination, extravagance in 
church buildings, rhetoric in the pulpit, ecclesiastical cow- 
ardice in Church courts, 'the cooking stove apostacy,' and 



SCKIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 63 

lastly, infidelity, open or half concealed, are some of the 
evils that have taken root in the Church, that have found 
rich soil there, and are growing and spreading. 'An en- 
emy hath done this.' It is impossible to ever root out the 
tares from the wheat, but 'the children of the kingdom' 
shall not shut their eyes to the fact that 'the children of 
the Wicked One' are all about them in the same field. 
Not until 'the harvest' will they ever be separated. If the 
'mystery of iniquity' did 'even now work' in Paul's day. 
what must it be doing now? I often think of the passage 
you quote: 'When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find 
faith on the earth?' I am trying to be constanly looking- 
for Him, and I know I will be glad to see Him when He 
does come, if that day should be in my life time. These 
present day evils in the Church confirm the conviction in 
my mind that we are to-day somewhere (perhaps in the 
beginning, perhaps far along — I am no date-setter) in 
that time which Paul prophesied of: 'That day shall not 
come except there come a falling away first.' II. Thess. 
2:3. Christians to-day are trying to do what God says in 
His word is impossible. Or at least many, perhaps the 
vast majority of them, are. They are trying to pull up the 
tares by the roots. Their plan of campaign is to abolish 
the liquor traffic, the theatres, the dives of great cities, 
the dens of iniquity, etc. They are trying to convert the 
whole world. If I understand God's Word aright, sol- 
diers of the cross are rescuing parties. They can, trust- 
ing in the great Captain of their salvation, save many a 
lost man and woman from out of the world, but they need 
never expect to convert the world. Not while the Evil 
One is still loose, and directing all the forces of darkness. 
So when a Christian Endeavor Society takes for its mot- 
to: 'North Carolina for Christ,' or when a world-wide 
missionary alliance takes as a battle-cry: 'The World 
for Christ,' it is rushing headlong into danger 
without orders; indeed, it is going into" the war- 
fare in direct opposition to the plan of cam- 



64 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

paign the Lord of Hosts has laid down. 'Christ 
for North Carolina' or 'Christ for the World' is better, for 
He died to furnish a salvation sufficient to save all. But 
the army that sets jts heart on a complete world victory 
is doomed to disappointment and is wasting its energies. 
'As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when the Son 
of man cometh;' 'that day shall not come except there 
come a falling away first,' instruct us that not until Christ 
Himself comes will evil be swept from the earth. May 
that day come quickly." None but persons who are ac- 
tually blind, or they who shut their eyes to things that 
are not done in a corner, can fail to note the impending 
dangers, stated clearly in the foregoing correspondence, 
that menace the Church in her spiritual power. And be- 
cause of the truth, it behooves the men and women who 
really fear God to speak often to one another, and to con- 
tinue to fight for the faith that was first delivered to the 
saints. If the falling away, of which Paul speaks, is on us 
is it not evidence that the day is near at hand? It is not 
the sins of the notoriously wicked on the outside, but the 
flagrant transgressions of those on the inside, that, to- 
day, are in fulfillment of the Scriptures which prophesy 
the condition of the world prior to the coming of the Son 
of God. If you want to know its condition in the day of 
Noah read Genesis, 6th chapter. Compare it with the pres- 
ent day state of affairs. What is the difference? I do not 
expect to be living when Christ comes, but I want to be 
ready for it, whether living or resting in my grave. And 
to be ready, according to plain statements of Jesus Him- 
self, and the Apostolic writings, is going to keep me fight- 
ing the good fight of faith unto the end. 

The Apostle Paul, standing on the apex of his religious 
experence, though at the time in prison at Rome, sends 
these words to Timothy: "I have fought a good fight, I 
have finished my course, I have kept the faith." He was 
ready for his departure. In his writings he spared nei- 
ther friend nor foe. He poured hot shot into all who were 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 65 

disobedient to the faith; and it made no difference where 
they held their church membership. Christian warfare is 
no play soldiering. There is mighty little dress parade in 
it. Sometimes I am tempted to surrender. It seems like 
fighting in the dark. But somebody writes to me and 
gives me encouragement. And the decision is formed, 
with resolution, to keep up the fight notwithstanding the 
powers of darkness and the strength of the Evil One. Je- 
sus Christ must be the stronger. He will carry us 
through. Let us never turn loose; but having proved 
Him in all things, we will hold fast, and fight the good 
fight of faith. In "that day," the appearing of Christ, we 
will get the crown. But doesn't the Christian fighter get 
many a crown even during the war? It is hard fighting, 
but it will soon be over; and then, home, sweet home. 



PUT ON THE WHOLE ARMOR. 

Flies are a very great pest. In my house we keep them 
at a distance by the use of screen wire. I sit on the inside, 
.smile at them on the outside, and face a frowning world. 
Occasionally when the door opens one or more dart in, 
for they are persistent. But with care they may be effec- 
tually barred. It is likewise that we combat the fiery 
darts of the wicked. By putting up the screen — the ar- 
mor of God. But don't forget it must be the whole, and 
not a part of the armor. There can be no doubt that we 
are in the midst of evil and perilous times. The Church 
of Christ is being assailed. The members need pro tec- 
ton from the foe. There is a perfect and sure defence. 
Here it is: 

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, 
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and hav- 
ing done all, to stand." Eph. 6:13. 

The ancient warrior wore a girdle about his loins. This 
was to increase his strength; that he might be the better 



Q6 SCRIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

able to withstand the onslaught of the enemy. So the 
Apostle Paul, who was so familiar with military fig- 
ures of speech, and which, by the way, is pertinent at the 
present time, wrote tjie early Christians to "stand there- 
fore, having your loins girt about with truth." How es- 
sential to the success of the Christian that his life be truth, 
itself. "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights 
burning." Luke 2:35. While the boys are going to a. 
foreign land to fight the Spaniards, remember that the 
home guard must be daily fighting the devil; and "spirit- 
ual wickedness in high places." Another part of the ar- 
mor is the breast plate. This was needed to protect the 
vital organs about the chest, the heart and lungs es- 
pecially. Therefore the Apostle instructs Christians in 
these words: "And having on the breastplate of right- 
eousness." No warrior bold needed in the cruel war the 
breastplate more than does the professed Christian. No- 
man can see God whose heart is not pure. This is a day 
of impure language, books and papers. Yellow journal- 
ism is not confined to Northern cities. It is in North Caro- 
lina. I read the other day in a paper published at the cap- 
ital, a detailed account of the fall of a young woman, that 
to be read by many young people, would, it strikes me, 
prove pernicious in the extreme. Bad language, im- 
proper articles in the press, unwholesome books, all come 
as a result of more or less heart contamination. As a man 
thinketh in his heart so is he. This is divine language- 
How important then that the heart be kept with all dili- 
gence. It can be safe only by having on the breastplate 
of righteousness. "And your feet shod with the prepara- 
tion of the gospel of peace." These words refer to the 
sandals worn. Light in weight, the soldier was enabled to 
move rapidly. So we need to " lay aside every weight, 
and the sin which doth so easily beset us," in order that in 
our own lives the teaching in the followingbeautiful words 
may be manifest: "How beautiful are the feet of them- 
that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 67 

of good things." My reader, do you know that you are 
thus shod? Are you carrying to others glad tidings? 
In service for the master we forget all time and care. To 
be a faithful soldier of Jesus is what I pray you may be. 

"Above all, taking the shield of faith." What would a 
soldier be worth in the war now raging if lacking faith in 
the righteousness of the cause for which he fights? But 
I am inclined to believe, and must write it, that now, ac- 
cording to much evidence as appearing to me, the shield 
of faith is rarely worn by those who profess to follow the 
Captain of our Salvation. I have read, carefully and 
prayerfully, the article in a recent issue of The Observer, 
contributed by " H. A. B." It was suggested to him by 
The New York Sun's editorial, "The Waning of Evan- 
gelicalism," which was published in Sunday's Observer. 
"H. A. B." names his contribution " The Decay of Faith." 
He makes a hit at the display of fashion as seen in the us- 
ual Sunday service. He thinks the attire, especially of 
the women, is hardly in keeping with apostolic injunction 
that it be modest. He refers to the cooking stove as a 
modern adjunct of the new church building. He closes 
with these words: 

"Is it possible that the Church, even in the South, is 
becoming too fm-de-siecle? Is the Church in any danger 
by reason of the decline of faith?" 

If I am to' be a part of the jury on the case I answer the 
above questions without hesitation in the affirmative. 
Pride of denomination in the matter of church building 
has much to do with the costly buildings which are called, 
by many of the poor, "The Rich Man's Church." I heard 
a poor woman excuse her non-attendance on the ground 
that she was not able to dress in the fashion, and if she at- 
tended, the criticism of her dress was more than she could 
stand. They dressed too fine for her. The devil is get- 
ting in good work for himself in this respect. A young 
lady said her preacher talked Latin, and therefore, as she 
was not versed in that laneuas-e, she had not much to en- 



68 SCBIPT17RAL COMMENTS. 

courage her attendance. So it is, that the church which 
is without spot, wrinkle or blemish, has not yet appeared 
on the scene. The spots and wrinkles are the outcome 
of the decay of faith* There was much more of true reli- 
gion in the day before the advent of the big organ, or- 
chestras, and other worldly appurtenances, which have 
been introduced into the modern church. 

It may also be written as a ground for the decay of faith 
that the modern preacher in so many instances fails to 
properly build upon the foundation that has already been 
laid. Instead of "gold, silver and precious stones" in the 
church, we find largely, "wood, hay, stubble." The 
preacher who only preaches for popularity or to make a 
sensation, if possessed of conscience, should tremble for 
himself and hearers when reading words like these: 
"Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day 
shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the 
fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." I. Cor. 
3:13. He himself may come out saved; but what about 
his work? His people being burned? But the promise 
of reward is only to them whose work on the foundation 
shall abide. No doubt that much of the preaching of the 
day is due to the fact that the members of many congre- 
gations will not willingly hear the word, and the preacher 
is intimidated. What will be the feelings, though, of a 
minister at the judgment seat if he sees many of his church 
members placed on the left hand of the Judge? May he 
not well ponder these lines ? 

"When thou, my righteous judge shall come 
To fetch thy ransomed people home, 
Shall I among them stand ?" 

I was reading the other day to a church member the 
account of Samson slaying the Philistines with the jaw- 
bone of an ass. He smiled, and inquisitively said: "Now, 
John, do you believe that? Don't you know all that 
must be fiction?" This is a representative man. There 
are hundreds like him. They do not, as their fathers did, 



SCEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 69 

wear the shield of faith. In a certain sense they are righ- 
teous, but, really, are not believers in the Bible. It 
doesn't tax my credulity a bit more to believe that Sam- 
son slew his thousand with the weapon mentioned than 
it does to believe that the dying of one man on the Cross 
brings life eternal to all who accept it. I believe the lat- 
ter; therefore, to make my proposition good, I must be- 
lieve the former. I propose to enter the valley holding 
before me the shield of faith. If thrown aside there is no- 
thing to take its place. To complete the armor there are 
the helmet and the sword. So the Apostle speaks of the 
helmet of salvation. The helmet is intended to protect 
the head — the brain. There are more so-called religious 
folks with wheels in their heads than were in days of old, 
when people had faith in God. They need the helmet. 
'The sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God," is 
the weapon that always tells. Christians, many of them, 
cannot fence with it, because they do not know it, and do 
not believe it. 

When I read to the brother that the Spirit of the Lord 
came mightily upon Samson, and that with the jaw-bone, 
he went and slayed a thousand men (Judges 15:15), I saw 
the smile. There are many who, like him, do not believe. 
And the worst of it is, they are in the Church. Yes, "H. 
A. B.," she is in danger; and it is in consequence of the 
decline or decay of faith. There is but one remedy for 
this decay: Put on the whole armor of God. 



WHAT MAKES A GOOD SOLDIER? 

Endurance. "Thou therefore endure hardness as a 
good soldier." II. Timothy 2:3. The inference is that 
good soldiers endure. This is a word of high meaning. 
"To bear with patience; to bear without opposition or 
sinking under the pressure." A man had a certain hope. 



70 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

He thought he saw himself great in the eyes of the world. 
An eloquent orator, a wonderful lawyer, a rich merchant, 
a large manufacturer, a high steeple preacher, an honest 
politician; but he failed to reach the point, that, all the 
time, was not for him to attain; and instead of turning his 
hand or brain to something for which he was fitted, he 
went and took his place with the drones, or committed 
suicide. He had no patience to bear disappointment; he 
could not stand the pressure; and so became nothing, 
lived nothing, and died nothing. He could have been 
something had he possessed the power of picking himself 
up, and taking the next best thing; even if to its success- 
ful attainment endurance was necessary. Success in this 
world, from either a material or spiritual standpoint, is 
largely a question of ability to endure. I am very fond of 
reading the Epistles of Paul. They mark the man. Ex- 
emplify his character. No greater man ever lived. He 
reached a point when he could say: "For me to live is 
Christ." Every Christian should be able to say it; but 
they can't. Why? Because they cannot endure. Easy 
to givaup; easy to lose hope; easy to say its vain to serve 
God. The men and women not willing to endure, though 
enlisted in the cause, have never gotten out of the awk- 
ward squad. Paul remained in this squad but a little 
while. When he enlisted he did so for the fight. I know 
Christian women to-day who lose their patience and fret 
over nothing to an extent that one, who may come in con- 
tact with them, will be filled with misery. And I know 
men who are no better than the women described. Pet- 
tish as spoiled children. Can't bear anything that may 
not be agreeable to a personal whim. They are not sol- 
diers in the Lord's army; they never can be until they 
learn the lesson of patience, until they can stand any pres- 
sure. Some of them have been in the awkward squad for 
forty or fifty years. In fair weather they slip out and ap- 
pear on dress parade, but they really are a burden to the 
army. They never will be good soldiers until the lesson 



SCEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 71 

of endurance is absorbed and applied to every phase of dis- 
appointment and misfortune. They refuse to be drilled, 
and object to discipline. They wonder why they are called 
upon to be so severely afflicted, thinking that an injustice 
has been done them. They refuse to endure, and push 
from them the chalice of suffering, and decline to accept 
the chastening of the Lord; and thus bring discredit upon 
the religion professed. Miserable creatures! Miserable 
creatures! Not all are of this character, for some will see 
even an aureole of glory encircling the cup, which the cow- 
ard refused; and will take it and drink, saying: "Not my 
will but Thine be done;" and God is glorified. Courage 
is as much an essential to make a good Christian soldier 
as to make a good one for the government. 

What is all this endurance for? The Apostle answers 
in the ioth verse: "Therefore I endure all things for the 
elect's sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which 
is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." That's the idea. 
Of course endurance is best for the person; but the mo- 
tive with a soldier, a good soldier, is for his country's 
honor and the perpetuity of its principles of government. 
Right now there are many folks who want to be soldiers 
and whip out Spain in a few days. The impulse with some 
is, of course, patriotic; with others, self. But there is 
much pretension with many. And doubtless some are like 
the old negro who> was heard praying and asking the Lord 
to come and get him and take him to glory The next 
night, when a man, who had heard him expressing such 
readiness for translation, knocked at the door, and in re- 
sponse to the inquiry as to who was there, and what was 
wanted, replied that he was the Lord come to take Sambo 
to glory. There came back the immediate answer that 
Sambo didn't live there no longer. He had moved to 
another street. So there will likely be many who are now 
anxious for a fight, ready to decline at the decisive mo- 
ment. The Christian endures the hardships incident to 
the spiritual warfare, that others may be benefited, and 



72 SCEIPTFKAL COMMENTS. 

that he may please his Captain who lias so chosen him for 
His soldier. He will make sacrifices that he may bring 
comfort to others. The Apostle Paul had learned of the 
butcheries of Christens in Rome, and he went there at 
his peril to comfort them and urge all who were being per- 
secuted to remain faithful to Jesus. He was soon in pris- 
on. This 2nd Epistle of Timothy is supposed to be the 
best he ever wrote. It is full of a sublime faith, and is 
touchingly pathetic. He is standing on the verge of eter- 
nity. He knows that from the prison he will go to the 
block. He does not say he wants to die. But he does 

say: "I am ready, the time of my departure is at 

hand." So every Christian should be ready any time. "I 
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I 
have kept the faith." Any man may know when he has 
done likewise. At this time Rome was steeped in sin. But 
Paul was full of the importance of enduring to the end. 
He wanted to see Timothy. "Do thy diligence to come 
shortly unto me." He desired to see his friend once more. 
He wanted his cloak, his books, his parchment. The dun- 
geon was likely damp and cold, and he needed comfort. 
And the thought of his books and papers show him still 
desirous of keeping himself a full man. When his head 
fell from the executioner's block and rolled in the duct at 
the feet of the rabble the spirit of the world's greatest 
Apostle went to God. When Jesus comes again it will be 
worth living right that we may get the privilege of shak- 
ing hands with Paul. But that's not the idea. He lived 
for others; so must we. And such a life is impossible 
without endurance of some kind. Why then am I a sol- 
dier? Not that I may reach heaven. That's not in my 
mind now. I am a soldier for Jesus that I may in my life 
exemplify the beauty of holiness and consecration to the 
service of the King, and that others may be benefited 
thereby. If the reader of The Observer or other person 
comes to my home my first thought is can I make an im- 
pression on that man that religion is a fact and something 



SCKIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 73 

to be desired above all things? My greatest desire is that 
men may be saved, and if by endurance I can bring about 
that end to any, I will endure. "Therefore endure hard- 
ness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." I have long since 
concluded that the Bible contains a record of facts. There 
are some things which are puzzling and incomprehensible 
to my mind. These, as with dynamite, I have nothing to 
do. But such expressions as my text are clearly intelli- 
gible, and I grasp the meaning as presented and resolve 
to stamp it on my life. I had rather be a good soldier like 
Paul than to be an angel. He did much good in his life. 
If we pattern after him faithfully, so will we. Let life be 
of brief or long duration. A lady of Charlotte some time 
ago remarked to me that she, after reading my coniments, 
did not think me an "up-to-date" preacher. The compli- 
ment may be, if one was implied, "doubtful;" as a friend 
of mine remarked, when I said, in asking him to endorse 
my note, that it was an honor I conferred on but few. But 
"up-to-date" or not, the preaching I would give is, that if 
we are crowned in this or the next life, it will be largely 
the result of faithfulness and endurance as relating to any 
of the trials, through which all are called, in every voca- 
tion, editors included, sooner or later, to pass. Paul lived 
and 'died years ago. But his principle and spirit are with 
us to guide our feet, hearts and minds in the correct 
channel. "Wherever the feet of them who published the 
glad tidings go forth beautiful upon the mountains, he 
walks by their side as an inspirer and a guide; in ten thou- 
sand churches every Sabbath and on a thousand hearts 
every day his eloquent lips still teach the Gospel of which 
he was never ashamed; and wherever there are human 
souls searching for the white flower of holiness or climbing 
the. difficult heights of self-denial, there he, whose life was 
so pure, whose devotion to Christ was so entire, and whose 
pursuit of a single purpose was so unceasing, is welcomed 
as the best of friends." — Stalker. I want to be a minister 
with the same faith and courage. Every one is a minis- 



7± SCKIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

ter for good or evil. Where do you stand? In your home 
or wherever you may read these lines, ask yourself: ''Am 
I a good soldier of Jesus Christ?" If not a good one, 
then you are, necessarily, a bad one. Join the army and be 
a soldier right. I leave it with you. 



WHERE SHALL REST BE FOUND? 

"Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, 
and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk- 
therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jeremiah 
6:16. 

Plain question; plain answer. Get proper direction 
from a reliable source and go accordingly. There is no 
rest for the weary and the disturbed of earth only as com- 
pliance with the Lord's direction is met. "Thus saith the 
Lord." That's the talk of the One who always knows. 
For any question pertinent to the issues of life there is a 
never failing- "Thus saith the Lord." 

The editor of The Observer, last week, had an editorial: 
"Whither?" It was suggested by the preaching and an- 
tics of a couple of theological twisters. Following this r 
there was another editorial next day, concerning the rev- 
erend gentleman who had opened a dancing school in con- 
nection with his church, and again the editor asks: 
"Whither?" I was beginning to feel some uneasiness as 
to his equanimity: but Sunday's editorial, "Christianity 
and Skepticism." showed us that the world was "becom- 
ing better in the face of a growing tendency towards sen- 
sationalism in the pulpit." And thus The Observer still 
preaches "The Gospel of Hope," and is really not so much 
disturbed as to "Whither?" 

"Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" is a maxim 
of divine excellence and philosophy. We need not be dis- 
turbed about the future. It is the present which makes 
history, divine and secular. Live to-day right, and the to- 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 75 

morrow will be easily cared for, and will come laden with 
the blessings of God. Let us go forth to-day walking in the 
old paths, where is the good way, and rest, sweet rest, will 
be obtained. No doubt about that. The people to whom 
the prophet spoke these words were living unrighteous 
and wicked lives, and they said: "We will not walk there- 
in." After thousands of years they have here, at this time, 
their counterparts. But this is the fact, there is no rest 
for the wicked; no solid, substantial enjoyment; for they 
know the pleasure of sin is but for a season, and the end 
is death. "The soul that sinneth it shall die." The wick- 
ed say: "Peace, peace, when there is no peace.'' They 
know it. But in the old paths, "where is the good way," 
there is peace; keeping the heart and mind in Christ Je- 
sus. Why not then walk in it? There is plenty of room. 
"Come thou with us and we will do thee good." Moses 
extended this invitation to Hobab. He declined to 
accept, but afterwards changed his mind and went with 
the people of God. So, reader, you may have 
done likewise. The way stands open and you 
are welcome in it. It's the good way that the 
old mother traveled, and when she was going 
to sleep she begged you to walk therein. Get in it to-day. 

The sensational preacher wants to get up something 
new. He strikes matches and sends up balloons from the 
pulpit. He ought to go up in a balloon himself. He is 
the new man and a dangerous guide. No man ever floun- 
dered on the rocks who went in the old paths. Its the 
path that leads straight to and from the cross. Jesus 
came that He might destroy the works of the devil and to 
make a new heaven and a new earth where dwelleth right- 
eousness. The metaphor of the text is suggestive, famil- 
iar and beautiful. Observe it. 

"A traveller is going to a particular city; he conies to a 
place where the road divides into several paths; he is 
afraid of going astray; he stops short, endeavors to find 
out the right path; he cannot fix his choice. At last he 



76 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

sees another traveller; he inquires of him, gets proper di- 
rections, proceeds on his journey, arrives at the desired 
place, and reposes after his fatigue. The soul needs rest; 
it can only find it by»walking in the good way. It is the 
old way — the way of faith and holiness. Believe, Love,. 
Obey; be holy and be happy." Then sing: 

"We are traveling home to God, 
In the Way our fathers trod." 



OVERTAKEN IN A FAULT— WHAT TO DO. 

' 'Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are 
spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; 
considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." Gal. 6:1. 

"A once prominent citizen of Chattanooga published a 
remarkable card the other day in a local newspaper," said 
Mr. G. L. Simpson, of Tennessee, to a Washington Post 
reporter: 

"It reads something like this: 

" T publicly proclaim myself a chronic drunkard, and 
warn all saloon-keepers that they violate their oaths by 
giving or selling me any spirituous liquors.' 

"This card was signed with the author's name. Until 
two or three years ago he had enjoyed the thorough re- 
spect and good will of the community, and his standing 
as a business man was high. He comes of good family, 
and has all the advantages of a liberal education. The 
drink habit got the upper hand of him, and he has been go- 
ing down grade very rapidly. I do not think, however, 
that in going into print with a confession of his besetting 
sin that he has done a wise act. Aside from the shame 
and mortification it will cause his kindred, the printed 
notice can in no wise help him to reform. If he hasn't 
strength of will sufficient to resist the tempter he will 
find some way to satisfy his cravings. There never was a 
time that a whiskey fiend couldn't manage some plan 
whereby to satiate his thirst." 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 77 

The gentleman making the criticism on the card of the 
"whiskey fiend" may or may not be a Christian. How- 
ever it be, I am sure, if the criticism was read by the man, 
so desperately attempting to break the chain which binds 
him, it would aid him little from a human standpoint. 
It looks to me like jumping on a fellow at the bottom of 
the hill with both feet. The card of the drunkard, was 
right in two particulars: ist, It was justice to himself; 
2nd, It was ditto to the saloon keeper. Now, saloon 
keeper, I am a wreck; a drunkard; and therefore more 
liquor will be my death. Don't you be an accessory 
When I ask for more refuse me. The argument made by 
the critic, that the poor inebriate's act, in going into print, 
on account of the mortification and shame coming to his 
kindred, was unwise, is thin as air. Had they not already 
suffered these things? His public use and abuse of liquor 
had, doubtless, made him a nuisance, and publishing the 
card might have given the kindred hope of his ultimate 
reformation. The man went rapidly to the bottom. He 
realizes it, and means to reach the summit again. But 
here comes a friend, and starts him down. For such 
friends, or men who are not willing to pull a man up hill, 
I want to sing a song. It is quoted from memory, and I 
may jumble the metre, but here it is: 

"In this sensation century 
Good songs are very few, 
The words are little cared for, 
So the music it is new ; 
And subjects they are hard to find, 
But I have found one still, 
That's never push a man because 
He's going down hill. 

"If e'er you meet an honest man 

Struggling on with fate, 

Don't speak words of discouragement 

Nor tell him 'tis too late; 

Don't sneer him as you pass him by 

But greet him with g-ood will, 

And perhaps some day you'll meet that man, 

On the summit of the hill." 



78 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

The poetry may not be ornate, but the philosophy is 
clear. I heard it twenty years ago. It has in it the re- 
ligion of the Master, who teaches that we are to love one 
another. I have been near the bottom. Had my friends, 
all of them, given me that kind of treatment, likely, I 
would not be as far on the upward journey as, by their 
help, and the grace of God, I am. As I write to-night, I 
sing: 

"I am trying to climb up Zicm's Hill, 
For the Savior whispers, 'Love Me;' 
Though all beneath is dark as death 
Yet the skies are bright above me. 

"Then onward, upward, to the land, 
To the land of joy and beauty, 
Where all before shine more and more 
As I near the Golden City." 

I heard something like that when going to the singing 
school. I don't know whether it be good poetry, but it 
expresses my sentiments on the present occasion. Poor 
drunkard, struggling to break the chains of slavery, you 
need some one at your back to push you up, instead of 
pushing you down the hill. It is the place for those who 
are spiritual to restore such ones in the spirit of meekness. 

The fact that the "whiskey fiend," up to two or three 
years ago, was a thoroughly respected man and enjoyed 
the good will of the community, is why critics, even of the 
best class, should beware lest they also be tempted. My! 
My! What a difference between man and God as judges. 
I trust friends will go to the relief of the man who asked 
the saloon keeper to sell him no more drink; and that he 
may yet, in this life, stand on the summit of the hill. I am 
praying for him to-night. I would do more for him if I 
could. Drunkards have been saved, and this one may be. 
Few men are willing to acknowledge themselves to be 
drunkards. That this one has done so is evidence that for 
him the cloud that envelopes him may yet roll by. God 
save the men who want salvation. There is an outside 
and inside to every man. We often judge by the former; 



SCRIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 79 

but does not God act according to the latter? Reputa- 
tion is not every time the index to character. Here is a 
man, like one drowning, grasping for a straw. He thinks 
of the press and its power and influence. He prints his 
brief but comprehensive card. I will be just enough to my 
fellow man, in whatever avocation or condition, to believe 
that the saloon keepers in Chattanooga will heed the ap- 
peal herein made. I think the wretched man was wise in 
availing himself of any aid that might help in his effort 
to get himself together once again. You say you would 
not have done thus and thus. Who are you? Wait until 
you have become a slave yourself and then you may do 
the same. "Considering thyself, lest thou also be 
tempted." 

"We often say what we would do, 

If we were so and so ; 
But who can tell how we would act 
With mind he cannot know ? 

"We wonder why they will do this 

And never will do that, 
Appointing to ourselves the place 

Of private autocrat." 



NAAMAN'S BURDEN GONE. 

"And many lepers w r ere in Israel in the time of Eliseus 
the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naa- 
man, the Syrian." Luke 4:27. 

Two weeks ago the subject of my remarks was "Naa- 
man's Burden;" (and I stated in concluding the same, 
that at a subsequent time the manner in which he became 
rid of it would be considered.) The lesson to be read in 
connection with the text is the 5th chapter of 2nd Kings, 
beginning with the tenth and ending with the fourteenth 
verse. The words of the text were uttered by Christ in 
the famous discourse at Nazareth immediately after the 
temptation. He was talking in His home where He had 



80 SCKIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

been brought up, but where His word was rejected, and 
an attempt made in the very beginning of His ministry 
to murder Him. He said to them that "no prophet is 
accepted in his own country;'' and when He made the 
statement, that many lepers were in Israel in the days of 
Eliseus, but "none was cleansed save Naaman, the Syrian," 
"all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, 
were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him unto 
the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they 
might cast Him down headlong." But He escaped their 
passion and passed on. 

Why were not more lepers cleansed in the time of the 
prophet? Because they never sought the proper source. 
And Naaman, the one mentioned, came very near not re- 
ceiving a cure by reason of his unreasonable pride, and a 
desire to have things done according to his own order, and 
not by the direction of God. Pride has sent more men 
and women to hell than any other agency of the devil. 
The desire to have one's own way, and the effort made to 
go in the same by so many children of men leads directly 
to death. 

The Syrian free-booters, or companies, of which Naa- 
man was the captain general, in one of their depredations 
across the border, had brought back captive out of the 
land of Israel a little maid. She was placed in the home 
of the commanding officer to wait upon his wife. She 
soon saw the great trouble in that heathen home; the 
fearful disease of leprosy resting upon her master. Hav- 
ing been properly trained in her own home in Israel she 
was acquaited with the Great Physician who is able to heal 
all diseases, even leprosy. So the little servant of God 
remarked to her mistress: "Would God my Lord were 
with the prophet that is in Samaria! for He would recover 
him of his leposy." These words caused a nutter of ex- 
citement in the household and the King was apprised 
thereof. Immediately, preparations were ma^le in con- 
sequence of the words of the little child. A royal depu- 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 81 

tation, carrying a fee amounting to probably sixty or 
seventy thousand dollars and a letter, is sent to the King 
of Israel. The latter is angry and takes it as a challenge 
to war on the part of the Syrian King. So he deported 
himself as kings and others do who become incensed with 
their neighbors and acted the fool generally. Elisha 
heard of the stew at royal headquarters, and at once sent a 
messenger to notify Naaman to come to him, "and he 
shall know there is a prophet in Israel." Directly Cap- 
tain Naaman with horses, chariots, and a company or 
guard of honor, stood at the door of the house where 
dwelt the prophet, Elisha, the servant of God, may have 
heard the noise outside. He may have heard the com- 
manding voice of the dashing army officer; the pawing 
of the horses' feet ; the champing on the bits and all that 
is usually the accompaniment of a military dress parade. 
He was entirely unmoved by the same, and called his 
messenger boy, and directed him to tell the captain of the 
King's hosts to- go and dip or wash himself in Jordan 
seven times. He was dirty with a loathsome disease and 
needed cleansing. But that didn't suit Mr. Naaman. 
There was not enough fuss made over him. He ought 
to have had a reception in keeping with his high position. 
He was not treated with proper respect, and no doubt felt 
much like serving a rule on the good prophet to show 
cause why he should not be attached for contempt of 
court. "I thought, he would surely come out to me. and 
stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike 
his hand over the place, and recover the leper." He 
thought! That is the way of men. What business had 
he to think of any way except the one prescribed. But it 
is ever thus; and seldom is it found that man's way or 
thought is the God way and God thought. "Are not 
Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all 
the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be 
clean? So he turned and went away in a rage." But his 
servants were wiser than he, and after presenting the case 



82 SCEIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

in a proper manner at the last brought the leper to his. 
senses. "If the prophet had bid thee to do some great 
thing, wouldst thou not have done it? how much rather 
then, when he safth to thee, wash and be clean." So he 
went in, and dipped the required number of times, and 
when he arose the last time, his burden was gone; he still 
had his silver and gold, for the cure was without money 
and price, "and he was clean." There's the whole busi- 
ness of it; and that's the way he got rid of his burden. 
Obedience is better than sacrifice. It must have been a 
royal jubilee of a time at Naaman'shome when he returned 
to his wife and children with the one great burden that 
had rested on his greatness, gone forever. Washed off in 
the waters of the Jordan it had gone on to be swallowed 
up, and to never come back any more, in the bosom of the 
great deep. And the little maid no doubt rejoiced when 
she saw her lord coming back cured of the fearful disease. 
It was she who was the missionary in this case, and in the 
deliverance of Naaman may be seen an object lesson 
teaching what even a child may be permitted to do. 

But the practical lesson remains. Here is a sinner 
carrying his burden of sin. He knows it is a burden. 
Time after time has he been so convinced. A fine, happy, 
go as you please, dashing, fascinating man, he is; but his 
burden? Why doesn't he off with it? He finds no real 
good in this kind of a life. And yet he continues in the 
way that sooner or later must lead to woe. Friends talk 
and persuade; but he is obdurate. It is too simple. I 
think that there is another way. I cannot understand. 
I cannot believe. There is the trouble. Unbelief is the 
crowning sin of this, as it has been, of every age. When 
Christ spoke to his own people, in his own home, he mar- 
velled, wondered, because of their unbelief. It is the sin 
that refuses to admit the truth of divine revelation as it 
is in Christ. It is the oldest of all spritual diseases. 
Society is full of it and would believe anything quicker than 
that Jesus will save you from your sins and thus rid you of 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 83 

your greatest burden. The seat of the disease is in the 
head; for men say they will not believe anything they can- 
not understand. It also abides in the heart, for great as 
is this burden, men love sin and the indulgence of habits 
which the Bible condemns. Deal honestly with your 
selves in respect to moral leprosy. Realize that you are a 
sinner and repent of the sin; believe on and in Christ; 
and salvation is certain. A radical cure is made if you will 
accept the treatment. Deal honestly with the religion of 
Christ and those who profess and live it. I do not at- 
tempt to explain it. The manner of being saved is the 
same as it has ever been. "Wash and be clean." Whoso- 
ever heareth and believeth; whosover will forsake and con- 
fess their sin may be and are cured of the disease of moral 
leprosy; and the burden is gone. "Let the wicked for- 
sake his way, and the unrighteous mamhis thoughts; and 
let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy up- 
on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." 



BAPTIZED FOR THE DEAD. 

"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the 
dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then, 
baptized for the dead?" I Cor. 15:29. A lady reader, 
who reads closely both her Bible and Observer, has asked 
me to give my views on this passage of Scripture. It 
will require but a little space for me to do so. It is one of 
the few verses in the Bible without a parallel reference. 
Doctor Clarke, the eminent theologian and commentator, 
says: "This is certainly the most difficult verse in the New 
Testament; for, notwithstanding the greatest and wisest 
men have labored to explain it, there are to this day nearly 
as many different interpretations of it as interpreters." 
The reason why there are so many different interpreta- 
tions is because there has been, I expect, no little beating 
around the bush. I can see nothing difficult in the pas- 



84 SCEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

sage, I write from the standpoint of a careful,. faithful 
reader of the Bible; basing my opinion on the face value 
of what I read. We all know that in the days of the 
Fathers and eariy Christian Church there were forms, rites 
and ceremonies of the rankest superstition. The Scrip- 
ture means but one thing to me. In the earlier days live 
people received the sacrament or ordinance of baptism 
for persons who had died without it. Such a practice may 
have been carried on by some of the Corinthians, but not 
necessarily with the endorsement of the Apostle, though 
he may have been cognizant of it. The Apostle surely, 
without a shadow of doubt, believed in the doctrine of the 
resurrection. It had many opponents, and therefore Paul 
was ever preaching it. This chapter, the whole of it is 
devoted to the one all absorbing subject. He says: "Now 
if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say 
some among you that there is no resurrection of the 
dead?" From this verse the legitimate conclusion follows 
that among those to whom he wrote and spoke there were 
some who denied the doctrine. "But if there be no resur- 
rection of the dead, then is Christ not risen. And if 
Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and 'your 
faith is also vain." "For if the dead rise not, then is not 
Christ raised;" "and if Christ' be not raised your faith is 
vain; ye are yet in your sins." "Then they also which 
are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." They will never 
come forth if this doctrine is not true. He pursues the 
same line of argument when he quotes the passage: 
"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, 
if the dead rise not at all?" Why are they then baptized 
for the dead? This ceremony is all foolishness if the 
dead rise not. It was foolishness any way, but likely 
they believed there was some virtue in it, else it would 
not have been practiced. The wise and great in their 
attempt to interpret Scripture, which is perfectly 
plain on its face, thereby often perplex and puzzle 
the common people in the interpretation that common 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 85 

sense would render. I never knew of any one 
baptizing another for the dead; but I do know 
of a preacher in North Carolina, who baptized a girl 
after she was dead. He was arraigned before the body 
to which he was accountable for his ministerial acts. I do 
not remember his plea in mitigation, though I know he 
promised not to do so any more. Had he baptized the 
dead girl's brother or sister in her stead he might have 
plead this passage in extenuation, though even then, this 
act would have been no less foolish than the other. And 
because the Apostle Paul wrote the words to the Corin- 
thians is not evidence that the practice received his en- 
dorsement. And though he may have winked at, or knew 7 
of it, he uses the w r ords only to show that though there 
was virtue in the ceremony, it was without profit, if the 
dead rose not. He carries out the same idea in the follow- 
ing verse: "If after the manner of men I have fought 
with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the 
dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die." 
The words "beasts at Ephesus" may be a figure having 
reference to his trials and conflicts in general, as a conse- 
quence of his faith ; for we know preaching of the same 
made for him enemies everywhere. Now what advan- 
tage was all this to him or what will it be to those who 
think like him, if there be no truth in the great fundamen- 
tal doctrine of the Christian religion? Why says he, "to- 
morrow we die;" therefore, avoid the cross, the conflicts, 
the trials; and "let us eat and drink." Have a good time; 
instead of being Christians who must bear the cross, we 
will be Epicureans ; get all the sensual pleasures possible, 
for soon, we will make our exit, from the stage and all will 
be over forever. But for this doctrine, of which Christ is 
the first fruits, we would never have had the plain teaching 
that the greatest of all the preachers of the cross has left 
us. My view then of the passage is exactly the same as 
any ordinarily intelligent and careful reader of the Bible 
would give; that there has been a time, in the early days of 



35 SCRIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

the Christian dispensation, when live people were 
baptized for the dead, which had died without re- 
ceiving this sacrament 'and that a reading of con- 
temporaneous history would prove that such a practice 
prevailed. That it may have had ecclesiastical sanction, 
but not necessarily divine approval, any more than a great 
many practices of this age, carried on in the name of 
Christ. 

Superstition has, from the beginning, been an accom- 
paniment of religion; and in no small measure, in many 
places, it still holds. This is a fact known to all people 
who think; and much of it, as a matter of history, is re- 
corded in the Bible. The text is a sample. A Presby- 
terian preacher and friend whose attention I called to the 
text, said he had never noticed it before. 



COMFORTING WORDS. 

The future life is a question, in the consideration of 
which* there is never failing interest. No one knows any- 
thing of it, notwithstanding much speculation, on the part 
of philosophers, which to me has "become as sounding 
brass, or a tinkling cymbal," except as it is revealed in the 
word of God. Jesus laid a few days in the grave, was 
resurrected and dwelt on the earth forty days in the im- 
mortal, glorified state; and then went direct to heaven 
from which He is to descend at the last day in the same 
manner as He ascended. In the time before His ascension 
He gave no word of experience following the crucifixion 
and while His body was in the tomb. Lazarus and the 
widow's son died and were resuscitated; not resurrected, 
for resurrection implies a state not subject to any more 
death, and they died again, and are dead yet : and not one 
word is recorded of their experience in another life. So 
all that Ave know is by divine revelation. 

In chapter 4, 18th verse, I Thessalonians we notice: 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS, b? 

41 Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 
What words? Begin with the 13th verse and read, not- 
ing as you do so, the nature and plain teaching in every 
verse. ''But I would not have you to be ignorant, breth- 
ren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, 
even as others, which have no hope." He speaks to 
Christians. Tells them to not be in ignorance concerning 
the state and future prospects of their beloved 
dead; and that for them they need not have 
the same sorrow, that others do, "which have 
no hope;" or in other words, have no faith in 
the doctrine of the resurrection. "For if w T e believe 
that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which 
sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him." These words 
must necessarily be full of comfort to such as believe their 
loved ones, who are dead, "sleep in Jesus." Now notice 
the Apostle's authority for speaking or writing. "For 
this we say unto you by the word of the Lord." What? 
"That we which are alive and remain until the coming of 
the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep." If 
Jesus comes to-day, while w T e are alive, the fact, that we 
are among the living, would neither hinder, nor prevent 
them, who are dead. They are all right; provided they 
died in the Lord. No blessing is pronounced upon any 
other part of the dead. "For the Lord himself shall de- 
scend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the 
archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in 
Christ shall rise first." That is the first part of the resur- 
rection, the raising of the dead "in Christ." They receive 
the first benefits of thecoming of Christ, and the living will 
be permitted to see the opening of the graves. Then why 
sorrow for them, our Christian dead, as others do who 
have neither hope for their dead nor for themselves? It 
i? only they who have a hope in the resurrection that look 
with any degree of certainty to a future life. I do not trv 
to polish off my remarks by lugging in anything said bv 
the philosophers on the subject, for they know nothing 
about it. 



88 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

Then, again, the benefits of the coming of Christ ac- 
crue, secondly, to such as are alive at that event, and have 
been faithful unto Him. "Then we which are alive and re- 
main shall be caugjit up together with them in the 
clouds" (caught up with them who have just risen from 
the dead), "to meet the Lord in the air." What will be 
the result of that meeting? "And so shall we ever be with 
the Lord." 

Now there they are, exactly as I copy from my Bible, 
the words which the Apostle urges us Christians to use 
for our mutual comforting. "Wherefore comfort one an- 
other with these words." So any man who may tell you 
anything concerning a future life not in accordance with 
these words, so plainly, beautifully and comfortingly ex- 
pressed by the inspired Apostle, is telling something not 
built on the sure foundation. The words as they are writ- 
ten are comforting to me, and the only ones, with such as 
may be of like import, that give me any hope of another 
life. But this is the glorious hope, the bow of promise. 

My father came up from Fayetteville Saturday evening, 
spending the night and nearly all of the next day. We 
had a good time together; we always do. We are con- 
genial spirits, and often laugh and grow sad as we talk on 
subjects that provoke the one or the other. I read him 
the words of my present text, and preached the same, and 
had an attentive, respectful listener. Before he left, for 
his time was limited, as he is in the government service, 
and has always been a faithful, obedient servant, and 
moves as his superior officer commands, he told me of a 
sad home going. He met my mother here at the depot 
a few weeks ago. We had been enjoying a partial family 
gathering, and they went to their home. He says that 
when they entered the house there fell upon him a feeling 
he had never experienced. His youngest and only re- 
maining single daughter had recently married and gone 
to Tennessee; a married one, with her children, who had 
been visiting, had also gone home. And for the first time 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 89 

in forty years he had no child to greet him as he enter- 
ed the house. Nothing there to give a welcome to the 
two who had been faithful and loving parents to eight 
children, except a little dog. He says that the sense of 
loneliness and sadness was overpowering, and though a 
man of much self-control, he broke completely down. 
For all these years there had been one or more to give 
him a greeting in every home-coming. Why have I re- 
lated this incident? Simply to say that but for this hope 
of an eternal reunion, of which my Scripture is so sugges- 
tive, these separations, with their accompanying sadness, 
would not be endurable. They help to make the tunnels 
on the railway of life, and but for the hope of another life, 
I would to-night be in a tunnel billions and billions of 
miles longer than the Swannanoa. But this hope lights 
a smile anew on the lips of death, and it says that in some 
sweet day, beyond the great shadow, we will meet again, 
to be ever with the Lord, where there will be no partings; 
and before this hope the eternal cloud, of the blackness of 
darkness, flies away, and we ride out of the little tunnels 
in the glowing light of God's unchangeable love, and 
moving on a road-bed built upon His everlasting word, 
singing as we go, "it's better farther on." There is one 
thing certain, if that eternal day doesn't come, we will 
know nothing to the contrary; but there is not much com- 
fort in that thought, and I will conclude as I began: 
"Wherefore comfort one another with these words." T 
can offer you nothing better. I. Thess. 4:13-18. 

I will add a few points made by Dr. Clark, commenta- 
tor. To set the Thessalonians right on this important 
subject, he, the Apostle Paul, says the learned doctor, de- 
livers three important truths based on the Scriptures in- 
dicated: 

1. He asserts, as he had done before, that they who 
died in the Lord should have, in virtue of Christ's resur- 
rection, a resurrection unto< eternal life and blessedness. 

2. He makes a new discovery, that the last genera- 



DO SCKIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

tion should not die at all, but be in a moment changed to 
immortals. 

3. He adds another new discovery, that though the 
living should not die, but be transformed, yet the dead 
should first be raised, and be made glorious and immor- 
tal, and so in some measure have the preference and ad- 
vantage of such as shall be found alive. 

"Oh ye weary, sad, and tossed ones, 

Drop not, faint not by the way ! 
Ye shall join the loved and just ones 

In that dawn of perfect day. 
Harp strings touched by angel fingers, 

Murmured in my rapturous ear ; — 
Evermore their sweet song lingers — 

We shall know each other there." 

It is a precious Scripture lesson of only a few verses 
that I give my readers to-day. And the meaning of the 
verses to me, without the aid of commentary or philoso- 
phy, is as plain as the nose on my face. In their light I 
see no reason at all why a Christian should sorrow for 
them % who sleep in Christ, as others sorrow for their dead 
who have no hope of eternal life, immortality. 



NO CONTROVERSY ABOUT THIS. 

What? "Without controvesy great is the mystery of 
godliness." I. Timothy 3:16. Yet I have heard of a 
preacher possessing the controversial spirit who took this 
text, and his amplification was to the effect that with 
plenty of controversy, and every one finally, of course, 
giving in to his infallible opinion, the mystery connected 
with godliness would disappear as the light was turned 
on. "No mystery, brethren," says he, "in the true sense 
of t^e word; for controversy dispels and drives away every 
cloud, and the truth shines bright and clear." 

A good definition of the word mystery as here appear- 
ing is, "That which is beyond human comprehension un- 



SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 91 

til explained. In this sense mystery often conveys the 
idea of something awfully sublime or important; some- 
thing that excites wonder." The word godliness in the 
text, has reference specially to the entire plan of the 
atonement, as made through the sufferings and death and 
resurrection of Christ. The atonement is something; 
which no human mind can think upon without wonder of 
the greatest character and depth. The mystery of godli- 
ness spoken of by the Apostle is: "God was manifest in 
the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached 
unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up 
into glory." "The mystery of godliness as we behold it 
in Christ, is the pillar and ground of the truth; and with- 
out controversy a great thing." But I have often been 
made weary in having to listen to words indicating mys- 
terious dispensations of providence or godliness when in- 
deed the event evoking the words had nothing in it of the 
mysterious whatever. Here is a young man of bright 
promise and lovable traits of character. The blood leaps 
in his veins and the glow of health and vigor shows in 
every feature. He, though, has come in contact with 
something operating against the laws of health. We see 
him prostrated with malignant typhoid. Pale, emaciated, 
weak, for a month perhaps, he struggles. Nature can 
bear the strain no longer. He dies. Then the prayer is 
made, "Sanctify, O Lord, this mysterious dispensation of 
Thy providence," etc. When there is nothing mysteri- 
ous about it. The greatest mystery to my mind is how 
so many who are thus afflicted ever recover. One preach- 
er, in referring to the fearful Havana catastrophe, in his 
prayer, uses the words: "We cannot understand the 
mystery of this awful fate visited upon the brave men of 
the nation's ship." Well, the mystery has not yet been 
solved as to how it occurred, but there is no mystery in 
the fact that the brave men, who stood for the nation's 
honor and welfare, met their death as the result of an ex- 
plosion. Cause and effect. And in thinking of the un- 



92 SCKIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

timely taking off of the gallant seamen my hand trembles 
and my eyes weep tears of grief and bitterness. Time 
alone, and a long time at that, may bring rest to the lonely 
and bereaved. God nad nothing to do with the slaying 
of the faithful, obedient sailors, except in that, somewhere 
and in some way, His law, which is perfect, was violated,, 
and they died. They gave their lives for their country, 
and there are millions who stand ready to march even to 
battle and to die, if there should be cause, in defense of. 
the bonnie blue flag. But I have digressed. "Mystery 
of godliness." What is it? The Apostle answers: 

ist. "God was manifest in the flesh." The incarna- 
tive. God and humanity in one body. Who can fathom, 
the mystery? One who calls himself God. One who 
claims equality with God; One who does things that only 
a supernatural being could do; and yet we find Him in 
many particulars acting as a man; and, in fact, One in 
whose character, so unlike the human, not a flaw is to be 
found. But with all His excellencies, despised, rejected,, 
insulted, cruelly treated, and finally murdered. "God 
was manifest in the flesh;" but for all that, put to open 
shame; so filled with suffering and agony that through 
the pores of His flesh there come great drops of bloody 
sweat; the blood actually diverted from its channels by 
His agony and suffering on man's account. And this is 
God. A mystery indeed. 

2nd. "Justified in the Spirit." This word, spirit, has 
much mystery. His operations are as real as the sun- 
light. Still we cannot understand. The new birth is ac- 
complished through the energy of the Holy Ghost. Christ 
does not attempt any explanation. Nicodemus, great in 
learning, listened with astonishment when told he must 
be born of the Spirit. How can these things be? God 
bears testimony to the Apostles and to Christ in the 
working of their miracles through and by this Spirit. 
They are justified from all the calumnies heaped upon 
them. Had not Christ been the real Messiah no such tes- 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 93 

timony as the power to work miracles would have been 
accorded Him. For all that He did, never making a mis- 
take, He was justified in the Spirit. So is man justified. 
Justified by faith, he has peace with God through our 
Lord Jesus Christ. And the entire justification is backed 
by the Spirit. 

3. "Seen of angels." For instance, there was one at 
the vacant tomb, who said: "He is not here; for He has 
risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord 
lay." This angel was the same of whom St. Mark speaks, 
and calls him a young man. Nothing said of wings. "And 
entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sit- 
ting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment: 
and they were affrighted." The women. St. Luke speaks 
of "two men," who stood by the women, and these men, 
angels, had on "shining garments." They spoke unto the 
women, asking: "Why seek ye the living among the 
dead? He is not here, but is risen; remember how He 
spake unto you while He was yet in Galilee, saying the 
Son of Man must be delivered unto the hands of sinful 
men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And 
they remembered His words." These angels must, of 
course, have seen Him, and yet it is written by St. Peter, 
"That the angels desired to look into these things." What 
things? Why necessarily the mysteries surrounding the 
atonement in its every detail. For they, "these holy 
beings, could have little knowledge of the necessity, rea- 
sons and economy of human salvation, and of the nature 
of Christ as God and man." 

4th. "Preached unto the Gentiles." "This was one 
grand part of the mystery which had been hidden in God, 
that the Gentiles should be made fellow-heirs with the 
Jews, and be admitted into the kingdom of God." — Com- 
mentator. The inference, according to this, is that prior 
to this time, the advent of Christ, there was a barrier, im- 
passable, preventing the Gentiles' entrance into the king- 
dom. In this respect, the mystery, to my mind, is not the 



94 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

same as that appearing to the commentator. He goes 
on: "To the Gentiles, therefore, He was proclaimed as 
having pulled down the middle wall of partition between 
them and the Jews; that through Him God had granted 
unto them repentance unto life; and that they also might 
have redemption in His blood, the forgiveness of sins." 
The mystery, then, of this part of godliness is not that 
He was "preached unto the Gentiles;" but that it could 
have been any other way. It seems that this was, in every 
sense, the right thing to give them the Gospel. But are 
the Gentiles who died before the middle wall of partition 
was pulled down perished? I should hope not. But 
there is mystery nevertheless; though one thing is cer- 
tain now — there is no difference between the Jew and the 
Greek. All are free in Christ. No controversy as to that. 

5th. "Believed on in the world." This is as great a 
mystery as v any part of the subject in hand. That One, 
who was crucified with thieves, under an order of court, 
should wherever He has been held up by a faithful minis- 
try, be accepted by thousands and believed on as the only 
and all-sufficient Savior of sinners. Many who had to do 
with His crucifixion became His followers. "And a great 
company of the priests themselves became obedient to the 
faith." Acts 6:7. The work, in the name of Christ, is 
now in a small state compared to what it must be if the 
whole world is saved through Him. It is no mystery 
though to see how one may be saved from every kind of 
vice and human weakness by so believing on Him as to be 
like Him. But how few are like the model after which 
they claim to pattern. But it is a blessed thought that 
by Him, and only by Him, we are finally to be judged; 
and I am sure He will do us right. That's the record He 
left. He had no harsh words for any except the false, the 
pretenders. 

6th. "Received up into glory." This fact is of the ut- 
most consequence to the maintenance of the Christian 
faith. That Christ, in a divine, glorified, but human form P 



SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 95 

is in another sphere, from whence He, in person, must 
come, to receive all the believers unto Himself, at some 
certain time, though, concerning which we have no data 
to indicate when such a coming will occur. He has gone 
away; ''received up into glory," where He occupies the 
position of a judge. If He is your advocate now, you need 
not fear Him as a judge. But if you refuse to put your 
case in His hands, and you meet Him as your Judge, bet- 
ter for you had you never been born. The opportunity 
is before you, "and without controversy great is the mys- 
tery of godliness." It will always be so, until we meet 
Him face to face. But there is a privilege given you to be 
a part of the world which believes on Him, and in Him, 
and thus you make yourself safe to-day. 



THEY WHO BELIEVE NOT TO PERISH. 

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only 
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should 
not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. 

This of course is a very plain passage of Scripture. So 
that not a few use it for the preaching of doctrine that if 
weighed accurately would pan out pure universalism. 
There are many who are going to perish; but for one 
cause, unbelief. The}^ who do not perish are saved by be- 
lief. If you will read this familiar verse carefully it will 
appear to teach that the word "whosoever" is used indis- 
criminately. This word opens the door of salvation to all. 
While this is true, God does not mean to teach that all 
will be saved, even though the door is wide open. It is 
to "whosoever believeth in Him" that salvation comes. 
The converse of this is plainly declared in Mark 16:16. 
"But he that believeth not shall be damned." The text 
is positive in its teaching that they who believe are saved; 
not to be saved. Should not perish, but "have everlast- 
ing life." In another place it is said: "I give unto them 



96 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

eternal life; and they shall never perish." God does not 
save sinners unconditionally, but when He saves His work 
is thorough. This John 3:16 is the believer's magna char- 
ta. For nearly 1900^ years it has pointed the way to a cer- 
tain salvation. Comparatively speaking, but few of the 
world's multiplied millions have believed "in Him" dur- 
ing all these nineteen centuries, and millions yet refuse to 
believe, and consequently remain in a lost and perishing 
condition. After the course of several thousand years 
God may submit another plan, but I cannot see how one 
easier than that embodied in this text could be provided. 
Believe and you are saved. Men say they believe in Christ 
and still realize themselves unsaved. I cannot so under- 
stand it. They do not believe with the heart. To do so 
means righteousness. When one actually and really be- 
lieves in Him as is expressed in this text he is not in a per- 
ishing but a saved condition. There is not in 
all the Bible a passage of greater import than 
this. Familiar as it is, how few see in it the 
pearl of great price. That for which a man might 
profitably give his entire fortune to possess. And 
yet it is offered to one without money and without price. 
Why don't you take the gift? I will answer: "You don't 
believe in Him. And because of this lack of belief you do 
not trust in Flim." 



A NEW CREATURE. 

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new crea- 
ture." I. Cor. 5:17. "For in Christ Jesus neither circum- 
cision availeth nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." 
Gal. 6:15. 

We speak of a new book; a new fashion; a new theory; 
the new chemistry; a new discovery. The word is oppos- 
ed to old. Old things are passed away. Everything is 
new. Anv one understands the meaning of the word new. 
Naturally man is opposed to Christ. The Christ life is not 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 97 

like man's life. Man is born in sin, and as age increases 
he cultivates the sin germ, until he can properly be desig- 
nated an old sinner. A friend of mine wrote me the other 
day that he was still the same old sinner that he used to 
be. His words gave me a very clear idea of his present 
status. For I knew him in the long ago. Sorry he has 
not changed, but his frankness in confession is to 
be commended at least. But a man changes. The 
order is that he must do so. He must be born 
again before he can see the kingdom of heaven. And 
the kingdom of heaven is righteousness, peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost. When born again, not of the flesh, 
for this is not subject to the law, but of the Spirit, he be- 
comes a new creature. Being born of the Spirit, his life 
is adorned by the fruits of the Spirit, some of which are 
righteousness, joy, love, temperance, humility, faith; in 
fact, his every day conduct, in every relation of life, is but 
the outcome of that which dwells within him. Christ be- 
ing the indwelling power, he is now a new creature. This 
is the only way by which the old man in sin can become 
new. He may be moral and possess many excellent traits 
of character, but until he is known to be a follower of 
Christ it is an error to call him a new creature. The Apos- 
tle Paul was an extremely nice man, a gentleman of high 
character, education and culture. True he fought Chris- 
tians, but in that he thought himself to be doing God's 
service, just as many professed Christians think, who per- 
mit themselves to engage with bitterness in religious and 
sectarian controversy, most of which is only innate mean- 
ness, and strongly in evidence that not vet can they lay 
claim to being new creatures. The Apostle Paul after 
his conversion became thoroughly new. He opposed evil 
wherever existing. In the Church he found much, es- 
pecially at Corinth, showing that this church was not 
made up altogether of new creatures: therefore, they were 
not in Christ, though members of His Church. It has not 
escaped the eves of the world that many professors have 



98 SCKIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

really undergone but little change, and are, though wear- 
ing the cloak of righteousness, the same old fellows they 
used to be. Dying to sin, as it is called, did not change 
them very much. And for this reason, that not a few are 
not what they profess to be, men who lay no claim to per- 
sonal piety, say, though having respect for the Christian 
religion, that they care not to embrace it. This excuse 
may show weakness, but at the same time we admit that 
there is cause for it. You had better never make a pro- 
fession of religion than to do so and not live as honestly 
as some who are openly sinful. The world knows the old 
sinner, for he is well marked. 

Apropos of the fact that religion doesn't change the 
character of all its professors, I am reminded of an anec- 
dote. Some gentlemen were discussing different religious 
doctrines. They were led to that of the transmigration 
of the soul. An old, good natured Dutchman was in the 
circle, and became much interested in this particular doc- 
trine, and asked that it be explained to him. "Well, you 
see, Hans," said one of the company, "you know you must 
die; ar^cl your soul will pass from your body into some- 
thing else. For instance, your soul will go into a canary 
bird, and this bird will be placed in a beautiful cage, and 
all day long you may be privileged to sit and sing for a 
pretty lady." Hans liked that. "But the canary must 
die, and then your soul may go into a flower of rare beau- 
ty, blooming in the yard of the same fair lady-" That was 
very nice. "But some day the donkey gets into the front 
yard and, coming by the flower in which resides your 
soul, he bites it off, and your soul is then in the donkey." 
Didn't like that so well. "And presently one of your old 
friends is passing and sees you leisurely picking the grass- 
on the lawn. He notices a familiar feature. Runs in the 
yard, seizes you by the ear cordially, giving it a hearty 
shake, saying at the time: 'Why Hans, old man, I am 
so glad to see you after so long a time; how are you any 
way, my boy? You don't seem to be much changed; you 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 99, 

look very much as you did years ago. Certainly I am 
pleased to see you; the same old Hans.' " There has been 
a big revival in your town. You got converted and join- 
ed the church. You sing and pray, and it was even men- 
tioned in the papers how active you were. But you went 
down to Raleigh to attend a Democratic and a Populist 
convention meeting on the same day. It was a big time, 
and before dinner you were in the saloon under the big 
hotel. Directly you were recognized by many, one of 
whom might say: "Why, I heard Jim had got religion; 
I guess it must be a mistake, he seems to be the same 
jolly old Jim of the sweet long ago." But Jim explains 
that he was really a professor and would be all right when 
he got home again, but that he never could be religious 
long at a time in Raleigh; and especially at two political 
conventions. Poor Jim, he is no new man. He wants to 
be good and at the same time get on an occasional spree. 
He represents a large class. You might as well attempt 
to successfully ride two horses at the same time going in 
opposite directions as to make folks believe you are a new 
creature when they know your bad habits still cling to 
you. Donkey parties, when we come right down to so- 
cial thinking are more real than fantastic. 

External performances are of no force in making a new 
man. All of them may be set aside by the words: "Nei- 
ther circumcision availeth nor uncircumcision, but a new 
creature." You may be baptized with or in. all the water 
of the State; you may have placed on your heads the 
hands of all the bishops and prelates; but this avails noth- 
ing if the heart is not clean and the spirit not right. You 
may profess sanctiflcation, a state of sinless perfection in 
the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, and the 
profession is not worth a row of pins if it fails to show up 
as good or better than men who do not profess it, but 



100 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

whose every day walk is evidence of their faith in Christ 
and humility of life. 

"O for a heart to praise my God, 

A heart f»om sin set free, 
A heart that always feels thy blood, 

So freely spilt for me !" 

Pray and sing that every morning. Help by your life 
to make answer to the same, and you'll be in the kingdom 
of heaven before vou know it. We all need to ask for the 
mercy of God. 



RELIGION KEEPS THE MIND. 

"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The 

Lord is at hand Let your requests be made known 

unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all un- 
derstanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through 
Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:5-7- 

If the Apostle had said let your immoderation be 
known unto all men, it would have exactly suited the gy- 
rations of a lot of present day religious enthusiasts. The 
working of miracles is out of date. A miracle is a devia- 
tion from the laws of nature. We know that the law of 
nature now admits of no exceptions. The disciples work- 
ed miracles, but there is no history of any other class of 
men doing so, except such as have turned out to be frauds. 
Peace of God, which is a part of true religion, keeps not 
only the heart, but the mind. These Christian Scientists 
and other ministers who claim the almighty power in the 
curing of incurable diseases are doing no little harm. 
When I ask God to heal a sick man, the request is made 
strictly on the condition if He so wills. If the man lives, 
the prayer is answered; if he dies, the prayer is answered; 
because it was in accordance with the law that he should 
die. This writer is a very sick man. He has been in the 
very shadow of death, and he knows and he writes it with- 
out a tremor that his life hangs by a brittle thread — liable 



SCEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 101 

to break any moment. Standing in the shadow, I claim 
to be at least a good man, through the mercy and grace 
of God. If it be God's will for me to linger and suffer, even 
for years, I submit. If, on the other hand, it is His will 
for me to pass through the valley and cross the river in a 
shorter period, I submit. But I, as a minister of the Gos- 
pel, do protest against the perpetration of much stuff that 
is being given the people as truth. Here the other day a 
man with Bright's disease claimed divine healing. Chris- 
tian science did it. He was dead in a month. The scien- 
tists would have said of his death, it was an illusion, the 
dead body, funeral procession and' putting the body in the 
grave. I believe God would cure men as quickly as he 
would anybody if the cure could be legally made. I don't 
own one dollar's worth of property, but I will give any 
man $10,000 to cure me of my malady. This is a fraud. 
"All that is born must die." 

I clip the following from an editorial in the North Car- 
olina Advocate, of the 2nd inst., entitled, ''Where is it 
Going to End?" 

"After a while it was so many 'converted, sanctified and 
baptized with fire.' Then it was so many 'converted, sanc- 
tified, baptized with fire, and moved to dance the holy 
dance.' Now a writer in the Way of Faith caps the climax 
by reporting the case of a brother, who, after having been 
converted, sanctified, baptized with fire, and, probably, 
dancing the holy dance, was healed of valvular disease of 
the heart ! 

"We are always glad to acknowledge and appreciate 
every blessing coming in the visitation of the Holy Ghost, 
but we would like to know how many more blessings are 
in the catalogue, and where the whole thing is going to 
end." 

If I were to comment on everything I read in the edi- 
torial department of the Advocate, suggestive of the im- 
portance of exercising common sense in matters religious 
as well as material, I would not be able to do the work in 



102 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

the paper for which I am in duty bound to write each 
week. 

The inference drawn from the above is that a man in 
the midst of a religfous meeting hag been healed of valv- 
ular disease of the heart. Now, I must say, in order to 
speak the truth, that I do not believe it. He may have 
been healed, but this healing only came about by the pro- 
cess of law. This writer has, for four years, been seriously 
afflicted with a similar trouble. It may be called a me- 
chanical trouble. There is a lesion through which the 
blood, or part of it, at every stroke of the heart, falls back, 
regurgitates. All these years I have asked God to cure 
me; I have asked faith. No man has more faith in His 
word. The doctors tell me that there is some compensa- 
tion going on by reason of the quiet life which I live, and 
this compensation may continue, and, of course, if the 
lesion should finally close and I again become a strong 
man, God would have credit for the same, in that the cure 
was wrought through and by force of His law, which is 
always perfect. At the same time, when I awake in the 
morning I thank Him for keeping me through the night, 
and ask for His protecting care every day. Yesterday I 
was very unwell, but this morning I am better; and with 
a steady hand, and I think, a head not touched to any ec- 
centricity, I write these lines. 

My little girl said to me sometime ago: "Papa, I don't 
see you down on your knees as much as I used to see you." 
I explained to her that my joints w T ere stiff; that my knee 
caps were not protected by flesh as they used to be. In 
consequence of the stiffness it was hard for me to drop 
down so often as in the days gone by. And then I told 
her I was praying all the time. That effectual prayer was 
not so much in the act of kneeling as in the spirit through 
which we made our requests to God. That my whole life, 
being one of physical helplessness, was a constant cry to 
God for strength and grace to do and to suffer His will. 
That when she was in school I was praying for her, and for 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 1Q3 

her mother engaged in her house work, and for the 
Church, and the preachers, and for all the world. And 
that I knew when she and her mother knelt in prayer they 
never forgot to ask God to make me well. She then un- 
derstood. And my friends who call on me say that in ask- 
ing Louise on the street how is her papa, she invariably 
replies, with a smile, "He's better!" And so he is. Bet- 
ter furnished every day with grace from God's storehouse 
to go on with his work trusting to have the ability to in- 
spire men and women who read his words to live closer to 
God, and as they journey to the land of which the Lord, 
our God, said: "I will give it thee," to do so patiently, 
cheerfully, faithfully, and at the same time wearing the 
"white flower of holiness" and consecration. I sav, but 
not in a spirit of bravado, as the man on the gallows 
crying to the hangman, "Let her go," but with the spirit 
of perfect trust in extreme trial, that I am ready; but 
every day I fail not to say: "God be merciful to me a sin- 
ner, and forgive my trespasses, as I forgive those who tres- 
pass against me." I preached to the people that in the 
severest trial and disappointment the religion of Christ 
would be a sure and certain stay. I knew nothing then by 
actual experience, only by observation, and what I gath- 
ered from God's word. I never tried to prove it to be the 
truth. I accepted it as the truth. When the time came 
to me to test its truth by being placed in the furnace of 
fire, dt was my only comfort and refuge; and now, after all 
these years, I can say, by experience, I know He has never 
left me, and even in my Gethsemane I often have a bap- 
tism by reason of His presence. I have no time to discus* 
mooted points. The night is coming and my work will 
soon be done. While engaged as a minister of the Gospel 
let my preaching be of a character to not disturb the faith 
of the children of God. Let it be such as will keep them 
in the old path, where they may find by walking therein 
rest for their souls, and not of a character that will run 
them out of the old paths and rush them on to the lima- 



104 SCEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

tic asylum. The asylums are full now, and God have mer- 
cy on any preacher who uses and preaches doctrine which 
runs the people crazy. "Let your moderation (common 
sense) be known unto* all men." And the peace of God 
will not only keep our hearts, but our minds, in Christ Je- 
sus. (Phil. 4th chapter.) Religion ought not to make 
you crazy. 

A good man, but a fanatic, called on me. He paid me 
the honor of saying that he thought me a Christian, but 
that I didn't have enough of the Holy Ghost. I replied 
that it would surprise me if I didn't have more than he. I 
was very weak that day, my digestion was poor, my heart 
weak. The fellow wanted me to rave, to jump out of bed 
and dance the holy dance, cry out that God had healed 
me and then go into a trance and see visions. But the 
Holy Ghost told me to lie still; that the man meant well, 
but had wheels in his head. I laid still. I obeyed the 
Holy Ghost. "Faith cometh by hearing," not by seeing 
visions or seeing anything else, "and hearing by the word 
of God." A few days before this visit I had written a let- 
ter to a* lady in the town thanking her for certain kind- 
ness to me. After my friend left there came a reply from 
the good woman, in which she thanked me for the words 
of Scripture quoted in my letter. They had done her so 
much good, and many precious words breathing a prayer 
that God would again make me strong to do my loved 
employ. And then, in the quiet of home, I received a 
baptism with the Holy Spirit. I was so glad to get the 
letter from the good woman, and happy because my 
words in the name of the Lord had carried a benediction 
to one who had recently laid to rest a husband and also a 
noble, promising son. 

The man who said I didn't have enough of the Holy 
Ghost has gone crazy, so I am informed, and is in the asy- 
lum, while I, through the mercy of God, am still at large 
on a small scale. 

You ask, referring to a certain matter, of which we all 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 105 

i 

have knowledge, "and where is the whole thing going to 
end?" It will end, unless checked, by a split in the Meth- 
odist Church, and the prevalence of a superstition as rank 
as ever blighted the cause of Christ. There are some 
things carried on to-day in the name of Christ which 
make His cause a by-word and a reproach. I am going to 
steer away from all of it except the Gospel of Jesus as it 
relates to repentance, regeneration and the necessity of 
living a holy life, and die with a clear brain. 



HE COULDN'T FAY THE PRICE. 

"But when the young man heard that saying, he went 
away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." Matthew 
19:22. 

Christ wanted the young man to be consecrated, but 
br him to attain that condition involved a price too much 
for him to pay. In an interesting conversation a few 
weeks ago, a very rich woman, who wants to be a disciple 
of Christ, and though a member of the Church, has never 
been satisfied with her life, asked me to give her the 
meaning of consecration. I referred her to the words of 
Christ to this rich young man as being a clear definition; 
and also stated that, though different from a great many 
preachers, especially those who did not wish to say any- 
thing to the discomfort of the rich, I had no authority 
whatever to take anything from the words of Christ. "Do 
you mean, then, to preach that consecration means giv- 
ing up everything for the cause?" she asked. "Yes, mad- 
am," was my reply; "everything; time, self and earthly 
stores." She didn't appear to like that doctrine, and 
breathed a sigh, but not, apparently, of relief. She has 
great possessions, and like the rich young man, wants to 
keep them; but she will not do so very long. 

The text is not a parable nor a part of one, but his- 
tory. The young man mentioned came to Jesus with the 



106 SCEIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

inquiry: "What good thing shall I do that I may have 
eternal life?" The Lord referred him to the duty of keep- 
ing the Commandments. He had kept them from his 
youth up, was his reply. Pretty good fellow. Jesus 
Christ then said: "If thou will be perfect, go and sell all 
that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have 
treasure in heaven, and come and follow me." But he 
couldn't do that, and "went away sorrowful, for he had 
great possessions." There are rich men who prefer to be 
imperfect rather than pay the price, though they pretend 
to have entered in the race as the followers of Jesus. Some 
preachers tell the rich that the Lord didn't mean exactly 
what He said in this case. According to their doctrine, 
Jesus Christ must have been a man whose statements 
were clothed with much ambiguity. But they don't strike 
me that way. "Give to the poor." Many of them on 
public occasions will give largely to the collections for 
special purposes, but when the hat goes round for the 
poor they may drop in a quarter. A Christian worker (?) 
called in at a home where, from the early morning until 
late at night a poor woman bent over her machine mak- 
ing shirts at 3 cents each. She was actually giving her 
life. No nourishing food, no fresh air, nothing but 
grim poverty, and the despair of the man who will catch 
at a straw. The fat, well-fed worker spoke to the wo- 
man of the good God, His abundant mercies; and all the 
time failed to note that here was a case where ample op- 
portunity was ofrered to prove by a substantial benefac- 
tion the truth of His words. But he was among the num- 
ber who have eyes, but see not ; ears, but hear not ; nor un- 
derstand, that the plaintive cry of this woman, "The poor 
have no God," is in a large measure true. 

The young man came running, and went away slowly 
and sad. That's the way many do in the time of the re- 
vival. They get on a boom. The evangelist goes away 
with his pockets pretty well filled. The excitement dies, 
and after a little while the spiritual status is again nor- 



SOKIPTURAL COMMENTS. 107 

mal. When men begin to look at the cost of discipleship 
there is drifting. The religion of Jesus Christ in one sense 
may be likened to leaven; it works noiselessly. The young 
man came ready to do anything the Lord might com- 
mand; but he went away unwilling to do the "one thing" 
which he lacked. This conduct lead to the testimony 
from Christ: "Verily, I say unto you, that a rich man 
shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." The 
Scriptures preserve a solemn silence as to> the young man 
after the incident calling forth the text. Of course he is 
dead. But after a lapse of eighteen centuries he is still a 
lively corpse, and his conduct ought to be a lesson. Where 
will he stand when the great day comes? Where will 
others stand who like him refuse to pay the price? 

The doctrine taught by the text is simply this: Men 
of means must unload if they really do wish to pass 
through the golden gate. They should see that wealth 
is really an obstacle in the way of personal salvation if 
not properly used. The doctrine enunciated above is 
strongly implied in such texts as the following: "Ye can- 
not serve God and Mammon." "Seek first the kingdom 
of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall 
he added unto you." "It is easier for a camel to go 
through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter 
the kingdom of God." This doctrine must be true, for 
Jesus taught it. The disciples were amazed at the teach- 
ing, for there were many rich men in that day, and they 
asked: "Who then can be saved?" But the answer: 
"With men this is impossible, but with God all things are 
possible," proves that the rich may get in. But as before 
written, they must necessarily do a lot of the unloading 
here. Not that this is the means of salvation, for redemp- 
tion is not of works, but that it is a fruit of salvation; and 
the rich man, who is saved does not hesitate to put every- 
thing upon the altar of God, and then become God's 
steward. The wisest man is he who is willing and does 
act in this honored capacity. 



108 SCBIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

The dangers in riches may be summed up in a few 
points which I take from the discourse of one Samuel 
Martin, who preached over fifty years ago, and whose 
sermons and life brought forth the fruits of righteousness 
in hundreds and thousands. He still lives. He says: 

1. "Wealth is apt to beget a spirit of independence to 
God. 'Beware lest thou forget the Lord thy God. And 
when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and 
gold is multiplied; and thou say in thine heart, my power 
and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth/ 
The pursuit of salvation involves entire dependence to- 
wards God; therefore, the man who is always talking of 
what he has, as the result of his own brain and muscle 
power, is mighty apt to exhibit that spirit of indepen- 
dence which is, usually, an accomplishment of the acqui- 
sition of wealth. The poor are really dependent upon the 
caprice of others; they are pilgrims through a wilderness, 
trusting that the manna may fall daily; the rich are the 
citizens of the land, which to them flows with milk and 
honey; and if they are wise they will see to it that none 
of the pilgrims passing their way go without a sufficiency 
of the needed nourishment to make comfortably the jour- 
ney to Canaan. If the rich do not get too independent 
they will have a chance to get through the gate. 

2. "Wealth fosters pride. The rich man is wise in his 
own conceit.' And the same felicitous writer, Solomon, 
says: 'Wealth maketh many friends/ And it is right 
it should. Christ teaches that we should n#F make to our- 
selves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness. But 
then, you know that there are friends and friends. But 
don't use it for making friends of the character that only 
follow you because you are rich. These are the kind who 
only follow wealth or fame, and leave the wretch to> weep. 
The snob must give up his snobbishness. 'God resisteth 
the proud but giveth grace to the humble.' Wealth by 
nourishing pride puts an obstacle in the way of progress 
to the kingdom. If you really want to get in, be humble; 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 109 

use your means for the good of others, and there will be 
a, chance for you to get through the gate. 

3. "Wealth presents strong inducements to walk, in all 
things, by sight. In the case of wealth the source of tem- 
poral supply is visible. Such questions as, What shall we 
eat? What shall we drink? Wherewithal shall we be 
clothed? What appearance shall we make? What shall 
we do? Where shall we go? With whom shall we asso- 
ciate? are all answered by the wealth that is possessed. 
The habit of walking by sight is thus readily formed. It 
is dangerous to form this habit. Why? The just shall 
live by faith.' 'He that believeth shall be saved.' And 
faith is 'the substance of things expected, the evidence 
of things not seen.' I believe in faith and in exercising 
it. Had I not had my corn muffin for dinner to-day the 
lack of it would not have disturbed my faith. Up to the 
present the muffin has been ready all the time. So far on 
the way to eternal life my faith has abided. If I were rich 
I might be walking by sight. The rich, who do so, put 
an impediment in the way. If they walk in the same way 
as the poor who are rich in faith, there will be chance, so 
the way-bill declares, for them to get through the gate." 

There are other impediments which might be men- 
tioned, but my pencil is getting short, and besides, I pre- 
fer to prescribe in broken doses, and thereby not overdo 
the patience of my patients; but do them good. 

However, let me say, finally, to those of you who have 
an abundance and realize that you are saved men and wo- 
men, remember that God's grace is stronger than wealth. 
"You are saved for God's sake," and not merely for your 
own. You are saved to show forth His praise. Believe 
that you are not your own. The use of your property for 
Christ and for your fellow man will testify to the triumphs 
of the Holy Spirit in your heart. That you may give this 
testimony, spend not largely on yourself — but little on 
dress — and nothing, it may be, on ornament. The finger 
might keep to the hand without a ring, and the breast 



110 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

might respire without a jewel. Let not the adorning of 
either sex be "that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, 
and of wearing of gold^ and putting on of apparel." Sure 
as you are born, too much of this is sinful. A woman, 
sitting in a fine church, with a fifty dollar dress and a hun- 
dred dollars in jewelry on her person is according to Scrip- 
ture, not likely to get through the gate; if it happens 
somebody living near her is not able to buy a cheap dress 
that she may go to hear the word of God. The rich folks, 
and all others possessed of inordinate pride, and some of 
the poor have this also, had best watch. In the great 
day you may not find the latch to the golden gate. There 
is a chance for you to find it now. "Seek and ye shall 
find." "Mind not high things, condescend to men of low 
estate. Be clothed with humility." 

"I charge you that are rich in this world, that ye be 
not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the 
living God, who giveth us richly all things we enjoy. That 
ye do good, that ye be rich in good works, ready to dis- 
tribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for 
yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, 
that ye may lay hold on eternal life." Remember who 
uses these words. Do what He says; begin at once, and 
you will then be apt to get through the golden gate. But 
perhaps you prefer the pleasures of sin for a season. But 
this pleasure is without profit — it costs more as an in- 
vestment than it brings in paying dividends. Better do 
what God says. Amen. 



THE WIDOW'S IMPORTUNITY. 

"Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge 
her, lest by her continual coming she weary me." Luke 

That was the idea of the unjust judge. He would grant 
the widow's prayer, not that he had any special inclina- 



SCRIPTUKAL COMMENTS. HI 

tion, prompted by piety or philanthropy, but that he 
might be rid of her. She had frequently called and found 
him to be an exceedingly hard case; for he "feared not 
God, neither regarded man." It is difficult to withstand 
a woman. When she says a certain thing is to be done it 
generally turns out as she has planned. I know one who 
for a year or more has been asking for a table cloth. Her 
husband thinks it is not needed, but she means to have 
it, and her importunity will fetch the desired article of 
domestic economy. How much money would a man 
raise for a church entertainment? Put a woman in charge 
and everybody gives. Then women pray more than men. 
There are scores of men who would have never been any- 
thing but for a faithful, praying woman. This woman, 
however, had no husband. But she had an adversary, an 
enemy, who was using her ill. She carried the matter to 
a judge, and he, finally, though not looking into the mer- 
its of the case, gave the relief demanded in the complaint. 
He was willing to do anything to be spared her continual 
worry. The Savior spoke of this judge and the woman 
petitioner to> point the lesson of persistent, never ceasing 
prayer. "That man ought always to pray and not to 
faint." Many faint by the wayside, give up the struggle 
and say: "It is vain trying to serve God." But this is 
wrong; it is not vain. He answers prayer, and rewards 
faithful service. He is bound to give unto them that ask, 
for He so promises and He cannot lie. In September 
last I came to Jonesboro and struck tent, without ability 
to work, except occasionally to use my pencil. We rent- 
ed a house and went into winter quarters. One evening 
sitting before the fire thinking how few were the dollars 
in hand to keep up necessary expenses, and watching the 
glow of the firelight as it fell upon the brown locks of the 
little head so trustingly resting against my knee, the 
thought, with irresistible force, came to my mind, how 
may I provide for her, her mother and myself? How sup- 
plement the small, but nevertheless valuable, income paid 



112 SCEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 

by the conference, and the two lodges of which I am a 
member? And God Almighty, recognizing this as a 
prayer, showed the way. That's all there is in it. It came 
as the result of faith in Him with some nerve thrown in. 

This world is the place where faith gets its reward. If 
mine should give way at this stage of the proceedings, 
darkness, without hope, would be the result. If you fail 
to press on there will be no reward in this life, and that 
is the one that interests me now. "I had fainted, unless 
I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land 
of the living." That's the point; it is plainly marked. 
We see the goodness of the Lord here, and do not wait 
to reach heaven for its exhibition. 

However often you may go to God with your petitions 
He does not become weary. Your tears, afflictions and 
helplessness appeal to Him, and He cannot be unmindful 
of infirmity. This is the proper way of looking at condi- 
tions which otherwise would be sources of worry and per- 
plexity. 

Another personal illustration, if you please. We could 
afford to buy but a quart of milk per day. It takes nearly 
that much for me, as I use nothing in liquid form except 
a cup of coffee at breakfast and water during the day. My 
little girl had said she hoped some day we could have milk 
to go round. Of course she had part of the quart. What 
she said put me to thinking. We must have a cow. It 
you ask for one let it be of good quality. I wrote for 
prices. Answer came; would let me know in a few days. 
Two weeks passed. One letter' brings surprise, though 
it should not be that when God answers prayer. Here 
is the contents of the letter: "Dolly Lawrence,, fine little 
cow, shipped you to-day with my best wishes and compli- 
ments; hope she will reach you in good order." Dolly 
is full blooded Jersey. She is out in the yard and my 
wife is milking her. The little girl now knows there will 
be "plenty of milk to go round." It was not necessary 
for me to get on my knees and ask. I let the request be 



SCKIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 113 

made known in faith and you note the result. A friend 
said to my wife that he would like her to write and ask 
the good man to send him one. She replied that he was 
not sick. But he answered he had not been feeling at all 
well for several weeks. I am almost persuaded to think 
that the pretty cow was set aside for me about the time 
of entering into this work. Of course I didn't know it; 
but the Father did. And His servant who sent the gift, 
in the time of final rewards, will have many to say of him, 
"I was hungry and he gave me meat." Prayer is desire; 
and this need not be expressed in words if you really have 
faith. The heavenly Father knoweth your needs; and 
He promises under any circumstances to supply them. 

The argument in this parable "is cumulative — if the 
widow prevailed over such indifference, and without an 
advocate wrested justice from such a judge when there 
was only his selfishness to appeal to — how much more 
shall the believer prevail when he meets everlasting love, 
as well as infinite equity in the court, has an all powerful 
advocate, and finds every perfection of the judge arrayed 
on his side!" 

There is a promise to all of God's children that He will 
see them through; and the men who cannot bank on 
divine promise need not expect anything. "Knock and 
it shall be opened unto you." But the door doesn't swing 
on its hinges to the knock of unbelief. 

Are any of my readers in darkness or sorrow? Re- 
member it is but for "a little while and the darkness flees 
away. Let there be no impatience under divine discip- 
line. A refiner and purifier of silver sits beside his cruci- 
ble, watching his precious metal; for he knows that one 
degree of heat beyond what is necessary to release the 
dross is injurious to the metal. And God does not forget 
or neglect His saints when He subjects them to the cruci- 
ble of sorrow. He watches the process and puts out the 
fires so soon as their work is accomplished." 

But until vour work is ended you will need divine 



114: SCEIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

strength to do it as God wants it done and you must ask. 
Him for the strength. 

If you have been trying to live without prayer, repent, 
of this sin; knock at the door, go in, and find pasture. 



LIARS, THEIR DOOM. 

"And all liars, shall have their part in the lake which 
burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second 
death." — Rev. 21:8. 

The book of Revelation is the last message from Christ. 
Accepting as a fact that the giver of this message was 
never known to tell an untruth, or to evade a question;, 
accepting as a fact that He tells the truth in this message, 
it appears as if there is a mighty hot time coming for liars. 
If they believed the text it strikes me they would be on 
the alert to make amendment, especially as to this habit. 
People, generally, are averse to the fire and brimstone 
doctrine, although, it is stated with a positiveness that 
should admit of no doubt. The Bible is not a doubt book 
on any class of sin and here I give some instances of liars 
and lying as laid down therein: The devil, Gen. 3:4-15; 
Cain, Gen. 4:9; Sarah, Gen. 18:15; Jacob, Gen. 27:19; 
Joseph's brethren, Gen. 37:31, 32; Gibeonites, Josh. 9:9; 
Sampson, Judges 16:10; Saul, I Sam. 15:13; Michal, I 
Sam. 19:14; David, I Sam. 21:2; Prophet of Bethel, I 
Kings 13:18; Gehazi, II. Kings 5:22; Job's friends, Job 
13:4; Ninevites Neh. 3:1; Peter, Matt. 26:72; Ananias, 
Acts 5:5; Cretians, Tit. 1 :i2. It will pay you to read this 
Scripture here indicated. Putting the present time in 
conjunction with that of which this Scripture speaks and 
all intervening time, we may well say with the immortal 
bard, "Lord, Lord, how is this world given to 
lying!" There is no excuse for a lie even un- 
der pressure. The devil is the father of liars 
and is the first of whom we have record. "Among 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 115 

other hideous and awful sins, lying is put down 
as one of the damning vices. Adulterers, whoremongers, 
drunkards, railers, and the like, shall not inherit the king- 
dom of God, and lying is put in the black category of 
these crimes." No being deserves execration more than 
a liar; and a lie is a lie even if it be what is called a "white 
lie." If you mean to escape the second death, "fire and 
brimstone," you must leave off lying. 

The mother, who hasn't grit sufficient to tell her child 
that she can have no more cake, but instead, tells her that 
the cake is all gone, when there is more in the pantry and 
the child knows it, is making for the lake; and setting an 
example, that if the child follows, will make it a liar. The 
father, who speaks an untruth before his son, need not be 
surprised when the son lies to him. The doctrine of sow- 
ing and reaping applies to the practice of falsehood and 
parents in this respect should certainly piit a close guard 
on their mouths. This sin of lying is universal, 
and probably no man living has not in one or more 
respects been guilty of thus offending. The "mystery of 
iniquity" is something calculated to bring wonder when 
a professed Christian is found guilty. And then, there is 
the preacher who holds a revival and the account given 
s that "there were fifty conversions—when probably there 
were not a half dozen, for conversion is a wonderful 
change in man — that forty joined the church, and others 
of the converts will join." This may or may not be true. 
Of course if one tells a falsehood by mistake he is not 
guilty of the crime, but telling as a fact, what one knows 
to be not true, puts him in the category of liars; and he is 
on the way to the lake. There is one thing certain — the 
truth can be told. And when it is spoken or written 
plainly, simply, without technical language, explanation 
is never necessary. It is a very uncomfortable business 
to be engaged in — that of having to explain. It might 
be well for the people who sing, "Jesus, I my cross have 
taken, all to leave and follow thee," to stop and think a 



116 SOEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

moment on what they are telling Jesus. What have they 
left? And what forsaken? I had a very intelligent En- 
glishman as superintendent of a Sunday school. He was 
a matter of fact, plain/ business man, and carried these 
characteristics into his religious work. The school was 
fond of singing, "Is my name written there?" The super- 
intendent was a good singer, but when this hymn was an- 
nounced he invariably asked the school to omit the first 
verse, beginning with the words, "I care not for riches, 
neither silver nor gold." He was a merchant and six 
days weekly was gathering in the shekels, and he said 
somehow, it made him feel streaked to sing those words. 
But it is said, though I do not endorse the theology, that 
if you do not mean to tell a story, it makes no difference. 
But I cannot see who has the authority to draw the line. 
There are many different kinds of liars. Some lie di- 
rectly, others indirectly. Among the latter is the fellow 
who withholds the truth. He goes on the stand and 
takes the oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and 
nothing but the truth. The lawyer instructs him to 
state to his honor and the jury all he knows about the 
matter between A and B. He may answer truthfully 
every question put to him, but if he fails to tell one he 
knows, he is a liar; for he swore to tell the whole truth; 
and part of the knowledge he had has been withheld. 
Brethren, this sin of lying is awful and more fearful when 
seen in men who are high in religious work. Then, there 
is the lie indulged by the good sister of the fashionable 
world. She sees a woman coming whom she knows to 
be a bore and directs the servant to go to the door and say 
her lady is "not in." And then the lady consoles the con- 
science, still sensitive, with the doctrine. I wasn't "in" 
to her. Better to have been bored awhile, and showed it, 
/ than to lie. The merchants, the clerks, the lawyers, the 
doctors, the preachers, the newspapers, and many other 
good people have made mistakes in this direction, but in 
the long run failure to bring out the whole truth has 



SCULPTURAL COMMENTS. 117 

brought them no good. It is best always to tell the truth, 
even if one has to suffer for it. Sometime ago I remark- 
ed to a good friend what he thought of the movement to 
establish a paper which would never permit any news ex- 
cept what was known to be the truth. To print no 
advertisements with a single loophole. "Well," said he, 
"if you've got some money, and want to lose it, put it in 
that kind of a paper." He knew something of the busi- 
ness and his direct way of answering my question rather 
discouraged the project. But the truth, in the end, will 
pay; it always pays. "Let Christians do right and tell 
the truth if the heavens fall. It will all be right, no mat- 
ter what the emergency or apparent consequences here 
below." "Lying is but one of the black features and sad 
evidences of the doctrine of universal and total de- 
pravity." "Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle 
which fits them all." 

It is certain the text makes no discrimination. "Fire 
and brimstone" is the pay, finally, for lying. But, not- 
withstanding, there are lots of men and women who really 
appear to enjoy the business, and act as if they couldn't 
quit it. There is no chance for them according to the 
text. 



A BISHOP'S SERMON. 

I have the pleasure this week of giving my readers a 
short sermon of Bishop E. H. Hendrix of the Southern 
M. E. Church. He, as all our bishops, speaks clearly, plain- 
ly, simply, the old story, that we all love so well. The ser- 
mon, of condensed power, is taken from the Epworth 
Messenger, Memphis, Tenn. It is remarkable for its 
simplicity. 

"Text: Tor when we were yet without strength, in 
due time Christ died for the ungodly.' Rom. 5:6. Why 
did Christ delay His coming? He was not ready. It was 
a great disappointment to the people for a long time. 



118 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

New tribes came upon the stage of action, but to pass 
away as the years rolled by. Why did He not come in 
Noah's time? Why not in Moses' time? Because God 
had other purposes in, view. Four thousand years had 
passed before God's promises were realized. It was not 
because He was not willing to come. The time was not 
yet ripe. This delay was in accordance with God's plan. 
With God this world is not a week old. A year with God 
is but a day. We are but in the morning of the world's 
history. We are just beginning to open the first pages. 

"When the angels announced the coming of Jesus, and 
that all men were to be saved, the world took on a new 
life. Did you ever think how important this word 'all' is? 
Why it occurs 5,500 times in the Scriptures. The Chris- 
tian religion has caused all men to think. God's purposes 
were fully accomplished when Christ did come. Had He 
come before this time, perhaps His record might have 
been lost. Now we have a record that can't be lost, for 
all time dates from the birth of Christ. His birth pro- 
foundly affected the world, and everything celebrates it. 

"The Jews were God's chosen people, but no less so 
than the Romans, but neither understood the importance 
of the Scriptures. Nevertheless He was simply making 
preparations for His coming. He has come to be our 
burden-bearer. He is our comfort. The literature, mu- 
sic, art of our land all tell of the coming of Christ. He is 
our Savior — come to take away our sins and lead us to 
glory and to God. He cannot be taken away from us. 
You can take a sunbeam and extract a particular color 
from it quite as easily as you can take Christ out of the 
hearts of men. Therefore, beloved, come and accept this 
Christ, the author and finisher of our salvation." 

Not by way of embellishment, but by exhortation, let 
us note a few points. 

1. "He is our Savior — come to take away our sins 
and lead us to glory and to God." There is a great preach- 
er for you, standing in the old paths, and pointing the 
good way. 



SC&IPTUKAL COMMENTS. 119 

2. As easy to take a particular color out of a sunbeam 
as to take Christ out of the hearts of men. Beautiful and 
strong illustration. I have no faith in the religion of the 
man who is for Christ one minute and the devil the next. 
Very doubtful case. When men are converted, saved by 
Christ, it to my mind seems impossible that they should 
desire fellowship with Belial. Taking a particular color 
from a sunbeam would be a difficult piece of work. To 
take Christ out of the heart, equally so. 

3. "Therefore, beloved, come and accept this Christ, 
the author and finisher of our salvation." The last word 
is a mountain of meaning. The author and finisher. Yet, 
men are heard to pray: "Oh Lord, help these poor peni- 
tents to work out their own salvation," when this Scrip- 
ture, as interpreted, has no reference whatever to the un- 
converted. The words, addressed by the Apostle, were 
to the Christian Philippians (2:12): "Wherefore, my be- 
loved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence 
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your 
own salvation with fear and trembling." Work it out, 
now that you have it; "that ye may be blameless, and 
harmless, the Sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst 
of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine 
as lights in the world." Phil. 2:15. 

Here, my friend, is a little present, a token of my love; 
will you accept it? Yes, with pleasure and thanks. Here, 
sinner, is a Savior, one who died for you; will you accept 
Him? And many say no, when to accept in this instance 
would have been as easy as in the matter of the token. 
But others do obey the voice, accept the salvation, and 
are happy; and know that Christ is in them all the time 
helping them to work out their salvation; and thereby 
they shine as lights in the world. "Zacchaeus, make 
haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy 
house. And he made haste, and came down, and receiv- 
ed Him joyfully. 1 ' "And Jesus said, this day is salvation 
come to this house." Did this Publican work it out be- 
fore he got it? Sinner, come down; Jesus is ready. 



120 SCEIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

A WOMAN AND HER PRIDE. 

Prov. 13:10. "An high look and a proud heart is sin." 

21:4. "Every one that is proud is an abomination to the 

Lord." 16:5. "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, 

neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matt. 

6:15. 

Here it is. Pride stirs strife and continues contention. 
It is sin, violated law. The possessor of it is an abomina- 
tion in the sight of God. It is a barrier in the way of life. 
It causes an offended one to say, I will never forgive that 
man nor that woman. It is then certain when such an 
one prays the Lord's prayer the act is mockery. 

Here is a letter from a woman who has been passing 
through great trials. I know her well, and in quoting 
part of the letter, I make no breach of confidence. No 
woman with similar spirit can read it without interest, 
and I trust, not without profit. I know the writer has 
suffered. I know she was wronged, dreadfully so, by one 
who should have kept her hand on her mouth. The of- 
fended and maligned woman had said, "I will never for- 
give her." She writes: 

"I received your book. I wish I could tell you how I 
enjoyed reading it, and how much good it did my soul. 
If able I would send you $25 for it, or even more than 
that. It came to me like a message from God. I was in 
a great conflict with the devil, as I call it now. Pride over 

a matter I will tell you about It takes much to 

arouse my anger; but when it is, it becomes hard for me 

to forgive an injury I received a letter of apology 

and your book at the same time. It liked to have killed 
me. I did wish she hadn't done that, as I could not see 
how I could ever look over the insult. I became so nerv- 
ous and worked up over it, I could hardly stand it; for I 
knew it was my duty to forgive. But could I, and mean 
it? (Noble woman.) After I talked with my husband, I 
could not decide; and he went to sleep. Then I took 
your book and read and read till 1 o'clock. I felt worse 



SCRIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 121 

nd worse about not being willing to forgive. I tried to 
nd a place in there where there would be an excuse for 
ay case; but not one. The more I read the more I was 
it. I could only think of myself as the proud and elder 
rother of the prodigal; and still could not consent to 
toop to forgive her. But by the time I was through 
eading, and praying, my heart was softened some; and I 
/ent to bed with an aching head. I prayed God to give 
le grace to overcome the proud spirit by morning. It 
ame and found me still rebellious. (My, wasn't she hav- 
ig a conflict?) I felt mean, and also sorry for my little 
hildren. I grabbed the book again. Read through it; 
nd some of the places over and over again. I got on my 
nees once more, and prayed till I was assured that God 
ad given me grace to forgive her, and strength to tram- 
le that proud spirit under my feet. I feel like a new wo- 
lan now, and shall always fight the proud spirit. I want- 
d to tell you how much good the book did me. I needed 
ome one to urge me and convict me of sin. And now I 
m so thankful that I can say, truthfully, for I always 
ated a lie, I forgive you." Brothers and sisters, she had 
bitter, bitter struggle; but she won the fight. Blessed, 
oble, glorious woman, though hundreds of miles from 
le, I feel the presence of your spirit of self-sacrifice hov- 
ring around me as I write these lines. You have won 
be crown of victory, in which shine, with resplendent lus- 
re, the jewels of humility. You have forgiven a trespass, 
nd "your heavenly Father will forgive you." The dis- 
retion of man deferreth his anger, and it is glory to pass 
ver a transgression. Prov. 19:11. "He that is slow to 
nger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his 
pint than he that taketh a city." Prov. 16:32. 

The successful ones described in these two passages 
re the true heroes and heroines of earth. 

It takes more real courage to subdue and rule one's 
wn spirit, in the matter of forgiveness of injury, than 
- does to go forth into sanguinary warfare. You have 



122 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

the music and the cause, for which you fight, to urge you 
on in the latter; but in the former only the command of 
God. That is enough; but how few, comparatively, obey 
it, and fight selfism, and gain the greatest of all victories. 



DON'T TAKE SKIMMED MILK. 

"As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the 
word, that you may grow thereby." I. Peter 2:2. 

Anything that one loves that is what he is likely to use. 
If he has tasted that the Lord is gracious he will feed him- 
self largely from the supplies furnished by his heavenly 
Father. He will not spend money for that which is not 
bread; nor will he labor for that which satisfieth not. Men 
who wish to have nourishing food will patronize only 
those who give the best. This is specially true as to the 
milk they drink. They do not want it with the cream off. 
Skimmed milk, it is said, is good as a diuretic; but for the 
purpose* of strength it helps but little. If anything ap- 
pears in this department of The Observer that is not 
worth reading, it is in no sense a product of skimmed 
milk. I drink about six pints per day; but my wife is suf- 
ficiently well acquainted with me to> know that I do not 
take it skimmed. And it is the indispensable requisite to 
my physical existence. Likewise the sincere milk of 
God's word is necessary to my complete equipment. The 
"Grand Old Man," who has recently breathed his last, 
would have never been the great character that he was in 
life had it not been for the "The Impregnable Rock of 
Holy Scripture," from which he has, all his life, imbibed 
the sincere milk of the word that made him one of full 
stature long years ago, and gave him the right to the hon- 
orable title, "Grand Old Man." Those who love the Bi- 
ble will draw from it, read it, mark it, digest it, live it, 
prove it. Don't tell me that the Word of God is a pre- 
cious book to you when you are more filled with the latest 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 123 

novel than you are of it. Such a statement is not in ac- 
cordance with the facts in the case. There are lots of pro- 
fessors of religion to-day that any jury, selected at ran- 
dom, would find "not guilty" of being Christians without 
leaving the box. Their lives are in evidence against their 
professions. If you grow strong as Christians the pure 
milk is essential. If the preacher doesn't give it to you 
go to the dairy house and draw for yourselves. You will 
be surprised at the interest taken in the Book by your- 
self, when you look at it, and read it, because of your 
fondness for it. 

The desires of new-born babes after milk are ardent, 
strong and impatient. As a new-born babe, when pinch- 
ed with hunger or parched with thirst, manifests such an 
eagerness to obtain milk, so also should every child of 
grace evince a similar disposition by his love to and 
searching after the milk of the Word; "desire it," saith 
the Apostle, "that ye may grow thereby;" feed on it, that 
ye may be strengthened by it. Nothing can satisfy the 
cravings of an infant like milk; neither will anything sat- 
isfy the Christian but Christ ; hence he searches the Word 
that testifies of Him. John 5:39. The infant desires the 
milk just as nature has prepared it; so does the believer 
"desire the sincere milk of the Word," without the least 
adulteration of art, eloquence, or any other mixture of 
men. Psalms 19:7-8. The desires of a natural babe are 
accompanied with endeavors to obtain the milk. A sight 
of the breast, merely, would not satisfy, but rather in- 
crease its desires. And such are the active desires of a 
sincere Christian after the Word of God, that they can 
never be satisfied without it. Whenever you hear the 
Word, "take heed how ye hear," lest what you obtain be 
skimmed milk, which has been deprived of its nourish- 
ing and strengthening qualities. Mind that nothing is 
taken from it. See that it is not "watered milk." There 
is a curse and a woe upon any man who takes from or 
adds to it. A colored Baptist minister who was cutting 



124 SOEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

wood for me last winter said: "Mr. John, don't you be- 
lieve that the Master wants us to preach just the Bible, 
His Word?" "That's right, Sidney," was the reply. 
"Well," he continued, "I can't read it much, but Susie 
can. She reads me a few verses every now and then. 
These I try to remember and preach to the darkeys on 
Sunday." I told him that was the way to do; and when 
he preached what Susie read to him out of that Book he 
was proclaiming what the Apostle instructed us all, 
through his Epistle to Timothy, to preach. So great is 
Sidney's desire for the Word that on every opportunity 
he has Susie to read it to him. Sidney is a good negro, 
and there is no discount on his religion, or Susie's either. 
When will this be? "They shall beat their swords into 
plough-shares, and their spears into pruning hooks; na- 
tion shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall 
they learn war any more." Isaiah, 2:4. When will this 
time come! Would that it were here now. Of course 
the prophet knew what he was talking about, but judging 
from the present situation of affairs, the time is far in the 
future. And if our country is to receive no aid from the 
people whom she desires to assist the conflict must nec- 
essarily be prolonged. The words of the general that it 
would all be over in two weeks were not spoken in jest; 
but certainly, they do not appear now to have been the 
truth. We are all trusting in the Lord that He is on the 
American side. He is, if that is the right side. But when 
the greatest Christian nation on the face of the earth 
picks up the sword and goes into a war, that may, in time, 
involve all the world, it looks as if the time for the ful- 
fillment of the text is far away. I am not writing in a 
spirit of criticism, but only to prove that the present sur- 
roundings indicate that the time when the people will 
learn to war no more has not come. Would to God it 
had. The English papers said months ago that there 
would be disasters on the sea, but nothing to compare 
with what would be when the American army faced 100,- 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 125 

ooo Spanish soldiers on the island of Cuba. And espeei- 
cially is this likely to be true when we do not know as a 
fact that the insurgents will be of material aid to the 
country which goes to Cuba as the good Samaritan. Has, 
or did the government count the cost? 



SUCCESSFUL RELIGIOUS WORK. 

Evangelist R. V. Miller, Asheville, who has been con- 
ducting a series of religious services in Charlotte during 
the past week, is making a success of the work to which 
he devotes himself. The fact that he does succeed is due 
to one thing, mainly, preaching the word. It is my con- 
viction that any man possessed of common sense and true 
religion, which is always accompanied with a baptism of 
the Holy Spirit, will be successful at all times and among 
all classes in the work of the Lord. The wisdom of man 
is foolishness with God,therefore, it becomes necessary if 
a preacher leads men to Christ, that he be forgetful of 
himself. The greatest salvation is that which does save 
a man from self. It has been a pleasure to me to meet 
Mr. Miller during the past week, and to talk with him on 
things pertaining to the kingdom. Of course, parts of 
the doctrine he preaches do not always please the ortho- 
dox, but like John the Baptist, when he told Herod that 
he was out of order in living with his brother's wife and 
lost his head in consequence of such preaching, so in this 
day, the preacher, who comes red-hot before the people 
with the word, "Thou art the man," etc., in the John the 
Baptist and Nathan style, will be apt, occasionally, to 
raise the dust. The Word of God is mighty penetrating. 
The Chinaman said he was down on the Bible because the 
Bible was down on him. The Chinaman is not the only 
fellow who shows a lack of appreciation. But, atter all, 
the people, generally, esteem the Word itself more than 
they do pyrotechnics. The gentleman with whom I am 



126 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

a guest asked his wife if she had told the boy to rub the 
horse down, to which she replied, "Yes, and told him to 
rub him up too." That's a good idea. Rubbing the peo- 
ple just one way all the time makes them think too highly 
of self. When you rub the other way they may kick a lit- 
tle, but that will be over after awhile. Some folks would 
not enjoy this world at all if they didn't kick occasionally. 
They usually quit it some time. Jesus Himself spoke to 

Paul, and said: "Saul, Saul, it is hard for thee to 

kick against the pricks." We all need to be prodded 
with the goad. Preaching what God commands will in- 
variably fetch success. His Word cannot return unto 
Him void. It must accomplish His purpose. 

"The Lord has promised good to me, 

His Word my hope secures, 
He will my shield and portion be 

As long as life endures." 

Preach, teach, all things that are commanded, and He 
is with us to the end. God bless the special services be- 
ing held in all parts of the city to-day. 



GLAD TO GO TO CHURCH. 

"I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the 
house of the Lord." Ps. 122:1. 

It has been a long time since it was my pleasure to go 
to church. Being in Charlotte last Sunday morning, it 
was a privilege to worship at Brevard Street Church. The 
pastor of this congregation wrote me last winter that he 
and his congregation were praying for the restoration of 
this writer's health, and that he wanted me to wire him if 
my condition would justify coming to Charlotte and oc- 
cupying his pulpit the next Sunday. He was expecting 
a rather speedy answer, and that is right, for God says: 
"Ask, and you shall receive," and does not say that the 
answer will not be immediately. But any way, enough of 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 127 

prayer was answered, when on last Sunday morning the 
carriage came to the gate, and my host said, "Come, let 
us go to church." My readers, you will never fully know 
the joy there is in attending the service of God until you, 
through affliction, are deprived of the same. There are 
many things for which we may well be glad. But my 
gladness mostly on this occasion was due to the fact that 
I had the privilege and the ability to enter the house of 
the Lord. The preacher was prepared for the occasion. 
His text: "Brethren, pray for us." Not for him indi- 
vidually, but for him as the exponent of the Gospel; that 
it might have free course, a clear track, run and be glori- 
fied. The discourse was plain, practical, and evidently 
studied. He said he felt as much the importance of mak- 
ing the point plain, and delivering the message properly, 
as the Apostle who wrote the inspired words of the text. 
Well, I didn't see much display in the little church. There 
were no gaily dressed people; no show; no great amount 
of form. Yet, the congregation appeared to realize that 
this was the Lord's house, and while Satan gathers some- 
times in the congregation with the Sons of God, if he was 
at Brevard Street Sunday morning I didn't see him. 
Sitting on the stand listening to the preacher and looking 
on the congregation, attentive and in the spirit of wor- 
ship, my heart again said: "I was glad when they said 
unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord." The 
preacher was in earnest when he called for co-operation. 
"Brethren, pray for us." Do you know the great amount 
of good that you do, my reader, for your pastor, when he 
knows you are praying for him — for him, that in his hands 
the Word of God may not suffer, but run, have free 
course, and be glorified, in that sinners are saved and the 
saints edified and strengthened. The preacher finished 
his task and asked, Methodist-like, if I had anything to 
say. Not being in preaching trim, my words were few. 
But it gave me pleasure to thank the people for their in- 
terest in my welfare, and to make the statement that in 



128 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

answer to their prayers I was with them one time any 
way. It occurred to me, however, to make the point that 
in order to have God ready to answer prayer the petition 
must be in proper condition. If God's words do not abide 
in the Christian, if the Christian does not abide in Christ, 
if knowing the commands of God and he is lacking in 
obedience to them; then, he might as well not ask any- 
thing, for God doesn't hear people who profess to be His 
followers, but don't follow. If His people, called by His 
name, humble themselves, turn away from sin, and pray, 
then He hears; otherwise, He doesn't. Iniquity in the 
heart of the professed child of God separates. So if we 
confess our sins and forsake the same, then we may come 
boldly to the throne of grace, and have the check drawn 
on this bank honored for any amount desired. Well, the 
services ended. And at dinner again the text was in 
mind. So this morning, if you will repent of all sin and 
pray that God may be with your preacher in the service, 
it will be answered; your preacher will be helped; you will 
have more of your Master's character and disposition; and 
likely, Say with truth: "I was glad when they said unto 
me, let us go into the house of the Lord." Suppose you 
try it, and note how you feel when you return home from 
the house of the Lord. 



SCEIPTUKAL COMMENTS. 129 



THE EVERLASTING ARMS. 

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting 
arms."— Deut. 33:27. 

Art thou sunk in depths of sorrow 
Where no arm can reach so low ? 
There is One whose arms almighty 
Reach beyond the deepest woe. 
God the eternal is thy refuge, 
Let it still thy wild alarms; 
Underneath thy deepest sorrow 
Are the everlasting arms. 

Other arms grow faint and weary, 
These can never faint nor fail; 
Others reach our mount of blessing, 
These our lowest, loneliest vale. 
Oh, that all might know his friendship! 
Oh, that all might know his charms! 
Oh, that all might have beneath them 
Jesus' everlasting arms. 

"Underneath us" — oh, how easy! 
We have not to mount on high, 
But to sink into the fullness 
And in trustful weakness lie. 
And we find our humbling failures 
Save us from the strength that harms; 
We may fail, but "Underneath us 
Are the everlasting arms." 

Arms of Jesus! fold me closer 

To thy strong and loving breast, 

Till my spirit on thy bosom 

Finds its everlasting rest; 

And, when Times' last sands are sinking, 

Shield my heart from all alarms, 

Softly whispering— "Underneath Thee 

Are the everlasting arms." 

— Exchange. 



130 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

SPOTS, WRINKLES, BLEMISHES. 

Brethren, I call your attention to Ephesians 5:25:. 
"That he might present it to himself a glorious church*, 
not having spot, or wrmkle, or any such thing; but that 
it should be holy and without blemish." 

That He has been unable thus far to make such presen- 
tation of His idea of a church goes without saying. This- 
fact all will admit. Failure to attain His ideal is not to be 
attributed to fault in Him, nor to the means available to- 
every sect of Christians to meet the desired end. That 
the Apostle Paul saw spots on the early church none will 
deny. Without depreciating the good accomplished by 
the church, we must not close our eyes to the blemishes.. 
To see the spots on the sun, it being so far away, a glass 
is necessary. To see them on the church, it being so near 
us, magnifying power is unnecessary. The idea in preach- 
ing, as some one recently remarked, is not so much to 
fetch new teaching out of the Bible as it is to keep the 
people reminded of the old. And I fear that this duty is 
often forgotten, as preachers conceive the idea that they 
must give" the people something that will be spoken of as 
a deep and profound discourse. The story of redemption 
is couched in language that makes it beautiful for its sim- 
plicity. The man whose only desire is to preach a "big 
sermon" is a wrinkle seen and known of all men. We 
should owe men nothing but to love them. We often ex- 
hibit our love by reproof. This is given, not that we love 
men less, but Christ's Church more. In a verse preceding- 
the text we read that "Christ also loved the church," and 
the proof of this stands out boldly in the concluding 
clause, "and gave Himself for it." So far as we know, but 
for His death there would have been no Christian Church. 
And because His blood was the purchase price, He wants 
it to be holy and without blemish. This is a reasonable 
desire. He loves the church as man loves, or ought to 
love, his wife. He speaks of the church as His bride. It 
would be difficult to think of a beautiful bride as impure 



SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 131 

in heart or life. But the church is spotted. Why? There 
are many causes. Sometimes it may be the preacher. 
When this is true it puts a fearful stain on the body of 
Christ. The earlier the body is rid of such a member the 
better for the body. 

But my purpose just now is to make mention of the of- 
ficial members whose life is of a character damaging to 
Zion. What character does the law of the church, based 
on the Word of God, require in an official member? Look, 
if you please, on page 87, Discipline, question 2. Note 
the answer: "Let the stewards be men of solid piety." 
The law must mean what it says. I take this official not 
in a personal, but in a representative capacity of the en- 
tire body of officials. It is important that all be solid in 
piety; but especially that it be manifested in the lives of 
the men who constitute the official contingent. It will 
not be out of tune to charge that imperfections and blem- 
ishes are due to the fact that these brethren — no omnibus 
bill — are frequently so derelict in the performance of known 
duties that the church suffers in consequence. Official 
members are supposed to be guides and examples. No- 
thing cripples the church more than men of questionable 
character and known violators of good morals. If men 
like these are kept in office when will Christ make the de- 
sired presentation of the text? Never! The law ought 
to be changed so that the preacher may not be required 
to do the nominating. The present law is often a source 
of great embarrassment to him. For instance, the fourth 
quarterly conference elects the stewards. The next year 
a new preacher comes to the work and finds certain men 
in official positions, and for illustrative purpose will say 
he finds some offending one or more of the following 
points: 

1. Does not attend the official meetings and appears 
to take little interest in the management of the affairs of 
the church. 

2. Does not attend the preaching of the Word regit- 



132 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

larly; often at other churches, and allows trivial excuses 
to keep him away from his own. 

3. Never seen at the week night prayer-meetings. 

4. Does not subscribe to his own church paper. 

5. Never has a religious service with his family, and 
fails to instruct his children in the Bible and doctrines of 
the church. 

6. Sends his children to dancing school — not for God's 
glory, but thinks they may thereby become more grace- 
ful or get better positions in society. 

7. Drinks privately and sometimes publicly, and not 
always in moderation. 

8. Curses or swears when provoked. 

9. Member and officer of club at summer resort where 
great balls are given in the name of the club. 

10. Engaged directly or indirectly in the sale of liquor. 

11. Renting property for the liquor business or other 
immoral purposes. 

12. Retailing smutty anecdotes. (I heard on one oc- 
casion a leading church official tell a joke of this charac- 
ter that made me blush to the rim of my ear.) 

13. Creating obligations with no probability of being 
able to discharge them, and knowing it at the time. 

The preacher well knows that retaining a man who may 
be guilty of any of the foregoing counts is damaging to 
the cause of Christ and puts spots on the church; and yet, 
forsooth, probably, in consequence of the wealth or fam- 
ily connection, the preacher is told that such a man must 
be continued in office. And, contrary to conviction, he 
re-nominates him. One preacher was heard to remark 
that a certain man was put in. because the other official 
members desired it. This man cared nothing specially for 
Methodism. If the quarterly conference and a circus 
were billed for the same hour it was a well known fact that 
he would be at the circus. If the church is to become 
what Christ wants certainly her preachers and official 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 133 

members must be pure and holy men. A bad man in a 
conspicuous church relation is damaging in results not 
easily computed. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole 
lump." 



CHRIST'S CHURCH. 

"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art 
thou, Simon Barjoma: for flesh and blood hath not re- 
vealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 
And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon 
this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it." Matt. 16:17-18. 

A valued friend writes: "I am pleased with your arti- 
cle, 'Baptized for the Dead.' I don't recollect reading 
any commentary on that passage of Scripture. (I. Cor. 
15:29.) I should like some comments of yours on Matt. 
16:18-19. The 19th verse reads thus: 'And I will give 
unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatso- 
ever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; 
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed 
in heaven.' " 

My views are, in this as on other portions of the Scrip- 
ture, based on the words themselves. It was a moment- 
ous time in the history of Christ when he put the ques- 
tion direct: "Whom do men say that I the Son of man 
am?" There were various answers. But Peter having a 
revelation from heaven replied (not the Son of Man): 
"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Christ 
includes in His reply: "Thou art Peter." That was 
enough for Peter; and from him He switches when He 
says: "Upon this rock" (what rock? Why Christ Him- 
self) "I will build My Church;" not Peter's. The corner- 
stone of the Christian Church was laid that day. Eph. 
2:20. "Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner- 
stone." "My opinion upon the verses" (18 and 19), says 



134 SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

my friend, "is that they mean just what they say." So 
say I. He goes on: "Peter began to build the Christian 
Church and was a successful builder. See Acts 2nd chap- 
ter. See reference Eph. 2:20. He, Peter, was not the 
corner-stone." Of course not. "The Scriptures do not 
require any support from man." Certainly not. That's 
preaching by a layman. 

"And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of 
heaven." "This declaration of our Lord," says Dr. 
Clarke, "was literally fulfilled to Peter, as he was made 
the first instrument of opening; i. e., preaching the doc- 
trines of the kingdom of heaven to the Jews. Acts 2:41. 
And to the Gentiles. Acts 10:44-47; n:i; I57-" Very 
good and clear. And the remaining portion of this 19th 
verse means that anything Peter did in the name of Christ 
upon whom the Church was to be built, would meet with 
divine endorsement. And to say this is in no sense a 
leaning to Popery; and therefore, an attempt to ignore 
the fact that this 19th verse means exactly what it says 
is erroneous, according to my view. I further agree with 
my correspondent when he concludes: "You know that 
the Apostles had supernatural powers given to them, 
which was withheld from all who took up their work. This 
being so, the verses mean what they say." We might re- 
mark, incidentally, that this conclusion is an effective 
blow at Christian science, faith cures, etc., as these stand 
in opposition to the well known laws of nature, the law 
of the Lord, which is perfect. The day of miracles passed 
with the passing away of the original disciples. 

The Church of Christ, however, continues to grow; and 
as Peter was a builder, so likewise is every believer. The 
unbeliever is in the Church, but he is out of place; and 
that is why the Church is spotted. He thinks sometimes, 
especially when there has been a big ingathering, that he 
had something to do with it ; and with an expression sim- 
ilar to that of the man whose wife killed the bear and who 
said, "See what me and my wife done," he points out what 



SCKIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 135 

we Christians have done. But the unbeliever is no Chris- 
tian, but a stranger and a foreigner in the household of 
faith. The humble, confessed followers of Christ make 
the Church; they "are no* more strangers and foreigners, 
but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of 
God." Eph. 2:19 et seq. "This rock" upon which the 
Church is built is the sure foundation. All the powers of 
hell, including the infidel, the scoffer, sceptic, agnostic, 
etc., etc., will avail nothing in opposing the Gospel. So 
long as Christ lives the Church will move on; but she 
needs to part company with the unbelievers in order to be 
ready for the coming of the Bridegroom. The "whipper- 
snappers," who say the Church is going to the devil, 
make random remarks. The Church herself is all right; 
but the wicked on the inside are of their father, the devil; 
and the works of their father they do. Let them repent. 



HOW ARE WE SAVED? 

"For by grace are ye saved through faith." Eph. 2:8. 

Grace is a large word. It has many meanings. Here 
it has but one. Webster's definition: "The free, unmer- 
ited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all 
the benefits men receive from Him." It includes the en- 
tire plan of the atonement. A comprehensive definition, 
as it applies spiritually, would be the help of God. The 
grace of God is ample, but not sufficient in itself to salva- 
tion without faith. This is of the greatest importance. 
Without it we cannot please God. We propose to have 
more to say concerning faith than grace. There is abun- 
dance of the latter but a scarcity of the former. A dis- 
tinguished minister once read to me a treatise of his on 
faith, and stated, egotistically, I thought, that his defini- 
tion was entirely different from any he had ever seen or 
heard. The best I have ever known on faith is faith. It 
is rather dangerous to mix it with much theology. I 



136 SCKIPTURAL COMMENTS. 

think every one has a pretty fair idea of the word; but 
still there are compartively few in this dispensation pos- 
sessing it as the force which has brought personal salva- 
tion. Through faith man is saved. In what way does it 
come to him? 

ist. "Faith cometh by hearing." If you propose to 
enter into some business enterprise, and in which you wish 
to get capital invested to aid in the consummation of the 
same, you must have the ability to state your plan in such 
manner as will enlist or induce men of means to have faith 
in it. This they cannot have until they have heard. Men 
will hear your plan, and may or may not have faith. So 
it is in the matter of salvation. Some hear and have faith 
to believe, and are saved; others hear and do not believe, 
and are condemned. 

2nd. Hearing what? "And hearing by the Word of 
God." It is hearing His Word that brings us faith which 
is the gift of God. "It is not five well-formed words from 
an eloquent tongue that produces faith, but the Word of 
God, the important and all-concerning truths of the Gos- 
pel of Christ, in their native dress, brought home to the 
hearts and consciences of those who hear them." "And 
my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words 
of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and 
of the power. That your faith should not stand in the 
wisdom of men, but in the power of God." I. Cor. 2:4-5. 
Men will hear preaching, of a character not like that of 
which Paul was a type, and then go away without faith 
in Christ, because they have not heard "the Word of 
God;" but an essay, couched in the enticing words of 
man's wisdom, and having upon it no baptism with the 
Holy Spirit, it was without power to the unconverted and 
back-slidden to Christ. The right kind of hearing must 
be "by the Word of God." When I open my Bible, I, 
through faith as I read, feel that what I am taking 
in, is the very Word of God; and therefore, when reading 
such passages as my text and others similar in import, I 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 137 

know, because I believe them, I am saved. "By grace 
through faith." I have heard a man say he knew he was- 
saved by reason of a curious good feeling in his breast. 
Well, it doesn't strike me that way. Last night about i 
o'clock I had a fearful night-mare, and when I awoke the 
feeling, in my breast or chest, was terrible, and of such a 
nature as to make me believe, had I been going by that 
kind of evidence, "feeling in the breast," that the old boy 
had me for a fact, and was going to let me ride to his dark 
regions on one of the night-mares. But my wife rubbed 
my chest where there was so much pain, and directly the 
circulation started again, and I was all right; and rose 
this morning ready to commence my work for God and 
humanity, knowing myself to be saved, for the reason 
that I heard the Word and believed it. That "feeling in 
the breast" theology doesn't have much weight with me. 
For hours sometimes in a day the feeling in that depart- 
ment of the writer's anatomy is anything else than curi- 
ously good. "By grace are ye saved through faith." 
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of 
God." 

3rd. How are we to hear it? Mainly by the way of the 
pulpit. "How shall they hear without a preacher? And 
how shall they preach, except they be sent?" As it is 
written, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach 
the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good 
things!" But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For 
Esaias saith: "Lord, who hath believed our report? So 
then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word 
of God." Rom. 10:15 et seq. This being true, how im- 
portant that what the people hear be the Word of God. 
Standing one day at the depot in Asheville, engaged in 
conversation with a friend, I was startled by him excit- 
edly taking hold of my arm and at the same time crying: 
"Lookout! Brother Troy." The shifting engine was near- 
ly upon me, and in a minute, but for the friend's timely 
interference, my body would have been crushed to death. 



138 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

God does not take hold of us exactly in that way, but his 
ministers are constantly, by His Word, crying to the peo- 
ple to look out, and entreating the unsaved to flee all un- 
righteousness, and be Saved now. I am not one of the 
kind who think that the pulpit has lost its power. On 
the contrary, the Word of God is being preached in its 
simplicity and purity; but I am not blind to the fact that 
many churches, with their paid choirs, tremendous or- 
gans, operatic singing, are, I fear, depending more upon 
these attractions than they do upon the Word itself, 
which should come straight, red hot, and direct from the 
fountain. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the 
Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in 
whom they have not believed? And how shall they be- 
lieve in Him of whom they have not heard." Rom. 10:13 
et seq. The idea of going to church and not hearing any- 
thing from the Word is an incongruity. "I often see ser- 
mons which to me are conspicuous only for the fact that 
they have in them nothing of the "Thus saith the Lord." 
I do not object to musical instruments and correct and 
spiritual ringing, but do protest against these things be- 
ing used as of a greater power of attraction than the Word 
itself. The preacher, who knows God, who has become 
acquainted with Him by daily intercourse, will "preach 
the Word," for he knows nothing else. But if he spends 
his time in reading other matter than the Word, how can 
he possess the ability to preach it? I hear people some- 
times trying to talk on subjects of which they know no- 
thing, and every word uttered is suggestive of perfect 
emptiness. It is pitiable to watch them. 

My Bible is full of God's Word, which tells me how to 
live and how not to live; how to talk and how not to talk; 
when to speak and when not to speak; what to drink and 
eat, and what not to drink and eat; what to hear and what 
not to hear; what to love and what not to love; what is 
law and what is not law. No question bearing upon any 
line of thought or action, but what is settled in full to 



SCEIPTURAL COMMENTS. 139 

date by the Word of God. We preachers, licensed or un- 
licensed by ecclesiastical authority, in the pulpit or out 
of the pulpit, should preach it in every word, act and 
thought, and then they who come in contact with us will 
hear it, even if it is not spoken; and the result, many who 
have no faith now will discover that religion is a fact not 
to be discounted. 

But my reader, whoever you are, remember that if you 
be wanting in faith you are no good. Make the law of 
God the rule of life. "But be ye doers of the Word, and 
not hearers only," is my parting injunction. 



CHRIST CAME TO SAVE YOU. 

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, 
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." 
I. Tim. 1:15. 

These words were not the wild mutterings of a crazy 
man, but the utterance of truth and soberness by one who 
had been called of God to preach to a lost world the riches 
of the Gospel of salvation. And there can be no salvation 
apart from this way, so simple that any may understand 
who desire to know it. The plan of salvation cannot be 
improved on by any substitute of man. It is perfect, pro- 
vided by God Himself. The world is full of sin and sin- 
ners. Christ came as the cure for the hereditary disease, 
sin, and to save the sinner. In consequence of sin the 
world is full of sadness and misery and death. Humanity 
is frail, and every day the bell is tolling; the mourners go 
about the street, and the crape hangs on the door. There 
must be a remedy for all this woe to which humanity has 
been subjected, and there is. The Balm of Gilead and the 
Great Physician to administer the same are here, and no 
patient afflicted with the dread disease of sin has ever 
failed of cure when he faithfully took the medicine. He 
is a fool who in the hour of grief and trouble and sickness 



140 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

unto death, refused the only certain remedy ever offered 
the race of mankind. The Gospel of Jesus is needed now 
more than ever. The time has come upon us when men 
are filled with all manner* of sin and wickedness, and if they 
ask for a remedy give them nothing but the Gospel of 
Christ. If they believe it, they will live it, and are saved. 
"He that believeth hath everlasting life." Indicative 
mood and present tense. You don't need to wait until 
you die to enjoy the goodness of God; you may be bap- 
tized, sprinkled and immersed, with it now. Christ came 
to save you. He walked a bloody pathway to accomplish 
this great end, and the man who will not follow His steps 
is gone, and he is gone now. He that believeth not shall 
be damned. And millions, even among what are called 
Christians, prove by their lives that they are not believers, 
and, therefore, they are not saved, but lost. There is but 
one way, sinner. This is the Gospel that Paul preaches, 
and if I copy from any man, let it be from him or other 
of the Apostles. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth 
from all sin." Try it. 



WHEN WILL HE SAVE YOU? NOW! 

"Behold, now is the accepted time; now is the day of 
salvation." II. Cor. 6:12. 

This ought to make us all glad and fill us with exceed- 
ing great joy. It always makes me tired to hear one call- 
ing on God to save him at last. Save me now, is my cry, 
and the last days will be all right. "To-day if ye will hear 
His voice, harden not your hearts." A heart that is har- 
dened will finally stop the ear to the voice of God. "Seek 
ye the Lord while He may be found; call ye upon Him 
while He is near." 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 141 

HE PROMISES TO KEEP YOU. 

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath 
begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of 
Jesus Christ." Phil, i :6. 

When He has saved you, rest assured that He can and 
will keep you to the end. Don't be uneasy that you are 
going to fall from grace. There is not much comfort in 
doubting the ability of God to perform His promises. 
There are many things in which you may, justifiably, have 
no confidence, but this one thing, God's ability to keep 
unto the end, you may be confident of. You may not al- 
ways know exactly what a woman is going to say, or what 
a politician is going to do* for humanity; for even the 
greatest of all the earth is not infallible, but God is sure. 
If I did not know it I would not declare nor preach it. The 
doctrine is a wonderful one; call it final perseverance, or 
what not, it is full of comfort and assurance. If God has 
begun a good work in you He will finish it. The true 
Christian is never doubtful as to forgiveness. He is never 
doubtful as to the impression he may make on others. 
Some may misunderstand him, because they wish to do 
so, but God made him to shine, and shine somewhere he 
will, and God is glorified, and in the midst of the storm of 
life He stands. As the house which is built on the rock, 
so is He. "Yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to 
make him stand." Rom. 14:4. 

We notice further that the promise is to keep one se- 
cure until the "day of Jesus Christ. The blessed Savior 
has not really yet had His day. But it is coming, if the 
word of prophecy is true. He is still rejected and despised 
of men, but His day is coming on. The world recently has 
been stirred by notable events; the next may be the ac- 
tual coming of Christ for His bride. And they, who now 
are saved, are going to be kept until that day; whether 
they be alive or in their graves, it makes no difference. 
He says we shall be kept, and I am ashamed of any Chris- 
tian who doesn't believe this word. "Kept by the power 



142 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed 
in the last time." I. Peter 1:5. "Now unto Him that 
is able to keep you from falling, and to present you fault- 
less before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." 
Jude 24. It is a plain case. Are you satined? Are you 
saved? If not, why not be to-day? I leave the matter 
with you. May God own and bless this word which I 
preach in His name, and for humanity's sake. Amen. 



THE BEST THING TO DO— FOLLOW JESUS. 

"Lord, I will follow Thee." Luke 9:61. 

When Christ came to the earth in the form of human- 
ity, He came to prove that even in this life a man might 
be good. His words, to men whom He met as He passed 
along, were: "Follow Me." Had they done so the mur- 
der of Christ would not have been a part of history. This 
murder was diabolical in detail; it was premeditated, ma- 
licious, and willful. Men in that day would have been 
saved had they followed Him. It is the same in this 
day. Wise and sensible is the one who says, "Lord, I 
will follow Thee;" and does it. But the man who will at- 
tempt to do other things inimical to this is not in the line 
of following. One said, "but let me first go bid them 
farewell, which are at home at my house." Jesus said 
unto him, "No man having put his hand to the plough, 
and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." No 
man will ever be a faithful follower who would make the 
Lord's business secondary. Following Jesus means cru- 
cifixion. Death to self and love abundant for Him and 
His cause. Naturally a man does not want to follow. 
The life of Jesus Christ cuts the natural man up; and when 
the man fully understands Christ, and gets himself to- 
gether, or in other words, has come to himself, he finds 
he is a new creature. Personal, absolute, daily, hourly 
following Christ is what makes Christianity. Any- 



SCRIPTURAL COMMENTS. 143 

thing else, even if the Church demands it, is a 
sham and a fraud. A church rule, a church creed, 
resolutions by church bodies are not binding upon the 
individual if they in any sense interfere with the freedom 
cl the individual to follow Him. 

i. Christianity is not a book or bundle of tactics. It 
is a great regenerating force. It makes man a new crea- 
ture. If in Christ he places all his trust, and becomes 
His follower, old things have passed away and all things 
have become new. 

2. The individual Christian life is not a man-made 
form or programme but personal loyalty to Jesus Christ. 
Wherever He calls to go we go. The same loyalty that 
the soldier gives to his country in time of war the Chris- 
tian soldier gives to the Captain of his salvation. Re- 
member my friends that personal loyalty to Jesus is the 
evidence that you follow Him, and mean what you say 
when declaring: "Lord, I will follow Thee." The Chris- 
tian doesn't wear a collar nor anything else save the yoke 
of Jesus. The following of Christ must be complete. Are 
you loyal to the Captain? Don't be afraid of ecclesiasti- 
cism only when you permit it to be crammed in you and 

dominate' your life. "Follow me." Be! loyal to Him 
who used these words, and you are saved now. 

3. If personal loyalty to Christ is salvation then He 
must be able to meet every want in my life for time and 
eternity. And He is able to save and to keep you saved. 
No school, no polity, no anything, can do for you what 
Christ can and will do. No man ever fell who really was 
following Christ. He must look back before he ceases to 
be a follower. 

God help everyone of us. God help us all to yield our- 
selves to Him, and to make it our every day life, to follow 
Him. 

A young woman stood before the altar. The priest 
stood in his magnificent robes with book in hand. 
"Daughter," said he, "will you promise to believe all that 



144 SCEIPTUEAL COMMENTS. 

the fathers have said and that the creeds teach?" To 
which she blushingly answered: "I will follow only Him." 
Again the ecclesiastic put the same question, to which she 
made the same reply: ."I will follow only Him." Oh, 
my reader, is that what you say? Jesus will carry you 
through.. You can't fail when He leads. Then tell Him 
to-day: " Lord I will follow Thee." 

"Sweetly Lord have we heard Thee calling, come follow Me." 

And we will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest. 



SUPPLEMENT. 



SCHOOL DAYS AT HILLSBORO. 

'The memory of things precious keepeth warm the 
heart that doth own them." This quotation appeared in 
a letter, from an old friend, recently received. And others 
have written and asked that I would write again of the 
old days of Hillsboro. In the early fall of 1874 I left Fay- 
etteville, my home, in company with Geo. D. Baker, to 
go to Horner and Graves' School. The school in that 
day, as in the past, and as at present, conducted at Ox- 
ford by two sons of the late Mr. Horner, had a great rep- 
utation. Soon after arriving at the barracks I was shown 
to a room on the third floor. Directly I was introduced 
to a young man by the name of Robert Winston. He 
immediately gave me some orders, but in a dignified, gen- 
tlemanly manner. I could not understand, exactly, why 
he sould give me orders, especially as he was a boy no 
older, apparently, nor larger than myself. While not ap- 
pealing to Caesar, I did appeal to some of the older boys 
as to why I should obey, and was quickly informed that 
he was the sergeant major, a superior officer, and I must 
obey him. I did so. My first lesson in soldiering. I was 
a "rat," as they called me, and needed information. And 
that night when they blacked my face I understood freely 
the term "rat." That young sergeant major is now one 
of our leading citizens, and a shining example of the char- 
acter of the teaching of the school mentioned. The 
teaching there certainly made a lasting impression on 
this young man's mind; so, likewise, did one of Mr. Hor- 
ner's daughters. 

Here, during my student days, I became acquainted 
with more than 100 boys, representatives of leading fami- 



146 SUPPLEMENT. 

lies in different sections of the State. It has been nearly 
25 years since those days, but the impression still abides. 
Many of the boys have gone over the river and are wait- 
ing for those who will meet them later on. To Jim Nichol- 
son, Geo. Baker, Walter Moore, Fenner Stickney, Sidney 
Wood, Peter Ihrie and the others of that noble band, who 
have crossed the bar, I pause to pay a tribute of affection- 
ate remembrance. You left us early in the flush of man- 
hood and usefulness. But your old school mates still hold 
your memory dear. Some of us are near the bar, and we 
hope to meet you face to face when we have entered the 
harbor of the eternal rest. 

The living have not failed to do something for their 
State, and reflect in their lives the value of the training 
received at the old barracks. It would require too much 
space to write all their names, but I could easily call the 
roll. In law, medicine, the ministry, the school room, ag- 
riculture, manufacturing, merchandising, you will find 
them standing in the front rank and making full proof of 
their ability to cope with the issues of life, in the world's 
broad field *>f battle. I, your fellow student, have almost 
fought the fight; but the dark days are often driven out 
of memory, and thoughts of past associations bring to me 
the sight of golden flashes athwart the clouds that have 
come over my life. Of course you remember Mr. Hor- 
ner. How he praised the student who came to recitation 
giving evidence of diligence in his study. How hard he 
hit the lazy and unprepared. It was like encountering a 
tornado. They thought him hard, but he was not. One 
day he made me thoroughly ashamed for coming unpre- 
pared. He had done so before, and then I made up my 
mind to change. The next morning I was ready. A 
question was missed by three or four above me. I was 
near the foot, but my time had come, and I rattled it off/ 
"Many verbs compounded with these prepositions: ad, 
ante, con, in, inter, ob, post, prae, pro, sub and super, are 
followed by the dative." I redeemed myself, and can 



SUPPLEMENT. 147 

never forget the feeling of exhultation when he cried out: 
"That't right, Troy, take 'em down, take 'em down." The 
student's pride in making a creditable recitation was no 
greater than that of the preceptor; and he took special 
delight in showing it in such words as: "Take 'em down, 
take 'em down." But my, how badly the fellow felt when 
he was told: k Tf you don't get to doing better you'll be 
an utter shipwreck." A boy with brains and a teacher 
has no excuse for lack of preparation. Jack Scott wrote 
me from Graham some time ago that he wanted me to 
give the boys something about the old days, and that is 
what I am trying to do. 

To you boys, one and all, who are so busy in your 
places, serving by the will of God your generation well, 
likely you do not often have time to think of the past. 
But, perhaps, in the quiet of your own home, surrounded 
by the family, sometimes memory will take you back 
through the vista of the past to those happy days. Hand 
in hand with memory, I often find myself going back to 
HillsborO', walking the galleries, walking guard, going to 
the mess hall, to the chapel for prayer, to Billy Bing- 
ham's and Abel Payne's for fried chicken, gravy and hot 
biscuit; Sunday mornings going in town to church, where 
we always found an attraction more potent than the 
preacher, and where we would forget to "keep eyes to the 
front," as the major enjoined was military law and must 
be observed; and last, but not least, on Friday night, once 
monthly, going to the reception at the "Select School for 
Young Ladies," at which time the dog was chained, and 
we dreadful boys permitted to promenade and talk with 
the girls. We would speak of our lonesomeness in the 
old barracks, and but for the fact that we had the pleasant 
anticipation of the coming receptions we would surely die. 
Why, of course, lots of boys die of that kind of heart trou- 
ble. And then, do you not remember the boy who was 
so much in love; of course all were in this fix, with one of 
the fair maidens? How ardent he was, but she declined 



148 SUPPLEMENT. 

to accept the proffer to live and die for her; but how at 
last she yielded, his persistent wooing of her winning the 
heart of the fair one; and do you remember his happiness 
when he received the answer, by the grape vine telegram, 
to another girl at the end of the line, 'Tell him he may 
have for his answer anything he likes, even if it's yes." 
And after all, it didn't turn out as the novels do. For he 
married another woman and she another man. But the 
truth is stranger than fiction, anyway. 

In conclusion, let me say to you of 1874 and '75 that 
some day you ought to have a re-union at the old bar- 
racks. If "Zack" is dead and, consequently, not able to 
beat the drum, why, come on Jack Scott. He was a good 
drummer, and he wrote me that he would be glad to make 
it rattle again. Lon Jones, I believe, was the last first 
sergeant. Have him on hand to call the roll. Some of 
the boys will not answer, but they are not here, for God 
took them. Lon stepped in to see me a few days ago. He 
called the roll, and as he did so my eyes were swimming 
in tears. And while writing to-day about the departed 
ones the tears come again. My little girl went in the 
kitchen and said to her mother: "Papa is in yonder 
writing a dead letter." But if I cannot be at the re-union 
in the body I will be there in the spirit; and when my 
name is called Charlie Holt or Julian Baker may answer 
for me. But let me tell you, if you do go into camp again, 
don't roll any rocks on the gallery. 

Now, boys, many of you, I know, read The Observer, 
and these random, desultory remarks have been written 
especially for you. Much of my life is spent in thinking 
on the past, though I do not permit these thoughts to 
persuade me that there is not something for me to do in 
the present. But for me the tide is at its ebb, not flow, 
and my ship is sailing out, but I am not nervous, neither 
am I afraid. The Pilot knows best, and He will guide the 
bark. We cannot see Him, but let us believe anyway that 
He is on the ship. It would cheer me on the voyage to 



SUPPLEMENT. 149 

hear from you often, and to know that you can stand the 
storm. It is a great pleasure to know for a fact that many 
of you are on board. If the chart, by which we sail, is true, 
we will not be wrecked, but some day meet face to face 
when our ships have reached the port. The best hope is 
that which is laid in Him. Certainly there can be none 
better. He is my hope. I have nothing else to commend 
me to His favor except that He died, the just, for the un- 
just. Wherever in the old State you may be, I send these 
words of affectionate remembrance; and close with this 
benediction : 

"God be with you till we meet again, 
By His counsel guide, uphold you, 
With His sheep securely fold you, 
God be with you till we meet again." 



CHAPEL HILL IN '75 AND '76. 

In a letter just received from an old schoolmate, now a 
prominent physician, I note these words: "I read your 
contributions to The Observer, and was particularly pleas- 
ed with your letter about the Hillsboro boys, and won- 
dered how you remembered your Chapel Hill days. You 
were a pretty careless fellow then, but are all right now, 
and all of us believe in you and in the grace which has 
made you whole." Any apparent lack of modesty by 
quoting these kind words will be excused by my readers 
when I say that it has been my intention to write of 
Chapel Hill for some time, and that these words have been 
appointed as a starter. He is right when he speaks of me 
as a "careless fellow" in those days, for all of which I am 
profoundly regretful, but the pain in consequence of the 
remembrance of incorrect life and methods is modified by 
the words following the fact stated. And other letters 
touch me deeply, which speak of all unpleasant things as 
being forgiven and forgotten. And somehow, this kind of 
preaching, from the Chapel Hill boys, appears to me as 



150 SUPPLEMENT. 

the stuff which one might decide to be the outcome of 
Christian education. For what is it after all but being 
what Christ was and doing what He did? I have given 
you an example. And to all the boys of '75 and '76, who 
have been so mindful as to write me — and they are many 
— such loving and tender words of sincere sympathy, and 
backing the same with substantial evidence of concern for 
me and mine, I want to say that the beautiful expressions 
of solid friendship, which they have shown to their "care- 
less" old school-fellow, have been the means of strength- 
ening his faith in God, and of making me decide that when 
our immortal friend, Oliver Goldsmith — I believe it was — 
wrote: 

"And what is friendship but a name, 

A charm that lulls to sleep, 
A shade which follows wealth or fame 

And leaves the wretch to weep? " 

he must have been suffering with dyspepsia or some- 
thing else that convinced him that the world was a howl- 
ing wilderness. The old man was off. My career, it is 
true, has'been a checkered one, impelled, it seems at times, 
by fate to make mistakes, sad and serious ones, yet the 
world has been good and kind to me, and God has been 
good, and His mercy endureth forever. I have had nei- 
ther fame nor riches, and according to the poet, I would, 
necessarily, be "the wretch to weep;" but such is not true, 
for friendship, which puts its strong arm under the weak, 
still abides, evidenced by such as this: "John, if there is 
anything I can do for you let me know;" and all of this is 
due to that grace, as Ike writes, /'which has made you 
whole and all of us believe in you." Bless God for that. 
"He brought me to the banqueting house, and His ban- 
ner over me was love." I bless the day, when in the prov- 
idence if God, I was permitted to> come in touch with the 
boys of my school days. When we have crossed the river 
and are resting on the other side this banner will still be 
over us. But I wanted to write something of the boys 
personally, and probably I had better move on. For these 



SUPPLEMENT. 151 

reflections dim my eyes and make frequent wiping of my 
glasses necessary. A friend wrote: "I was greatly inter- 
ested to< see how your story of the old school days at Hills- 
boro had touched the hearts of the boys. What a rich 
opportunity for reaching men and helping them lies in the 
calling up of happy memories of the past." But I move on. 

It was in the fall of 1875 when I knocked at the door 
of the resuscitated University. In 1872 its doors were 
closed and not re-opened until September, '75. The total 
of matriculates this first session was 69. 

The old catalogue is before me, and the first name ap- 
pearing on the roll is Arthur Arrington, Louisburg. 
Model boy in every respect. Has had some misfortunes 
in life, but as Dick Dillard wrote me, he always felt that 
Arthur was more fit for the kingdom of heaven than for 
earth. He is now the principal of the Jonesboro High 
School, and my child is one of his pupils. Charles Askew, 
Raleigh. Snappy Charley could play good ball and was 
a fine boxer. Is now living in Baltimore, and is often on 
the road for a paper house in Massachusetts. He is a suc- 
cessful business man. Julian M. Baker, Tarboro. Splen- 
did student and could do the giant swing, but missed his 
hold one time. Stands to-day in the front rank of the 
State's physicians, and content to live at home. We are 
proud of him. Thad Barlow. One of the sharp kind, and 
that you didn't buy for a dime. Good old Thad, we all 
loved you. He lived at home. Fred Barrow, Jackson, N. 
C. Good boy. Last time I saw him in business at Nor- 
folk. Kemp Battle, Jr. Chip of the old block. Promi- 
nent and successful physician. Charlie Bond, Windsor, 
lie was a student of natural history, I believe you call it. 
He usually had a few snakes — did not drink — and other 
insects in his room. He studied these things. Seldom 
had a room-mate. Not that the boys had anything against 
Charlie, but they didn't like his specimens. He is a 
preacher, so I've been informed. The snakes never bit 
him. He was a e:ood boy. That's the reason, probably. 



152 SUPPLEMENT. 

Geo. Britt, Clinton. Steady as a clock that keeps good 
time. Lives at home. Ed. Bynum, Tarboro. He is dead- 
Ernest Caldwell, Greensboro. True as steel. Now a 
Presbyterian minister, a*nd beloved by all. Aaron Capel. 
Good boy at school. Successful manufacturer of cotton 
goods, living now at Troy, N. C. "Doug" Carter. No 
brighter man in college. Fine orator. Now a judge of 
the Superior Court. Jesse Cherry, had a veritable Web- 
ster head. Good-hearted Jess. Gone the way of all the 
earth. His end was sad. Charlie Covington, Wilming- 
ton. As good a man as he was a boy. Everybody knows 
Chas. Covington. Fred and Robert Davis. Honest boys, 
and have made the same kind of citizens. Richard Dil- 
lard, Edenton. Genial old boy he was. Successful phy- 
sician and unmarried. What a pity. John Dobson, Rock- 
ford. Full of fun; his head likewise of solid sense. He was 
a stump speaker from his youth up. Lawyer at Dobson, 
N. C. Ed. Englehard, Wilmington. A boy of fine prom- 
ise. Died a few years ago in Raleigh. He was a worthy 
and prominent citizen. Jim Faison, Faison's. Become a 
lawyer, T think, and abides at his old home. Woodson 
Fearing, Elizabeth City. Always wearing a smile. A wor- 
thy citizen. Frank Fremont, Wilmington. The hand- 
somest man in college, and exceedingly brilliant. The 
last I heard of him he was in business in Atlanta. Charles 
Galloway, Mt. Airy. Died in the beginning of an auspi- 
cious career at the bar. "Mack" Griffin, Elizabeth City. 
One of the best looking and one of the best of boys He 
was very popular. Is now engaged in the banking busi- 
ness at his old home. Richard Henderson, Warrenton. 
Good boy and now a good doctor. Ed. J. Hill, Faison. 
We all remember Ed. A gentleman and a scholar. Now 
in the State of Washington. Already grown up with the 
country. Clifton Hunter, Enfield. Persevering student 
and manufacturer of scroll work. Now a railroad man. 
"Dink" James, Greenville. The silver tongued orator. 
Lawyer in Greenville. Writes me he is the same old sin- 



SUPPLEMENT. 153 

ner, but that his wife takes care of him. I never thought 
him much bad. Julius Johnston, Ruffin. Still at home. 
Worthy student. John Lewis. Very literary in taste. 
Now a newspaper man at Rocky Mount. Heny Lloyd, 
Tarboro. Stiff in manner, but lovely and yielding in dis- 
position. We called him "Stiffy." Now a hotel man and 
likely very popular. John Mallett, Chapel Hill. Honest, 
kind-hearted John. Very much like his father, the doctor, 
with whom a number of us boarded. Jim and John Man- 
ning, Pittsboro. None knew them but to love; none 
named them but to praise. They were model students, and 
to-day are model men. Both are in Durham. The former 
a lawyer, the latter a doctor. Of course they do well. I 
voted for Jim for judge. He will be on the bench one of 
these days if dear old North Carolina don't go to pieces. 
Both of these boys had all the friends they needed. Jim 
wrote me that he never thinks of Chapel Hill without 
thinking of me. The compliment in these words might 
be doubtful had he not enclosed something for my book. 
Anyway, I was fond of Jim and John. Ernest Maynard, 
Morrisville. Noble boy; worked hard in college, and is 
one man in whom there is no guile. Lawyer. George 
McCorkle, Newton. Full of fun and good sense. He is, 
I believe, in Washington City in charge of important , 
work. The McKoy brothers, sons of the late Neill Mc- 
Koy, were quiet and genial fellows. They are living in 
Harnett County, and helping to make the earth better. 
Tom McNeill, Cheraw, S. C "Fatty" his name to his 
friends, and he had many. Rufus Merritt, of Pittsboro, 
was very useful to the boys who had sweethearts in 
Greensboro College. Somehow, he could get a letter 
through the lines and get answers from the girl. But he 
was also useful in other things. Van Moore, Raleigh. 
Haven't heard from Van in a long time. Though I doubt 
not he is still living, for he always took the world easy, and 
bid fair to live through many, many years, to a good old 
age. He was generous and kind. Jim Nicholson, Enfield. 



154 SUPPLEMENT. 

Sweet spirited friend. Soon after graduating he lost his 
life by accidental drowning. No better boy ever lived. If 
any ever reached heaven Jim did. The Nixon brothers 
were from Perquimans? They loved each other and every- 
body else, and are living and making the world in their vi- 
cinity grow and blossom. Romulus Parker, Enfield. He 
was another favorite. He still lives in Halifax, and is a 
great farmer. Robert Lee Payne, Lexington. He wore 
his name worthily. We all know the great sorrow which 
came into his life. He is now practicing medicine in Nor- 
folk. North Carolina still claims him. Joe Peele, Jack- 
son. In all things while at school a philosopher, and the 
man who would tell the boys to keep off the grass. He 
still holds a grip on his philosophy, and usually clears his 
clients. He and Maynard are partners in law at Raleigh, 
and do fine work in their line. Will Phillips, son of Dr. 
Charles. He was great for chemistry, and at times studied 
this one thing 16 hours daily. He knew all about acids, 
but none were in his nature. He still keeps to his chemis- 
try, and lives in Alabama. Joe Powell, Tarboro. Gentle- 
man Joe* kind and courteous to all. Lives on his fine farm 
in Edgecombe, and helps to make the ground better. John 
Sawyer, Elizabeth City. Great talker, but always had 
something to say, usually closing his speech with the beau- 
tiful figure of speech, "until the earth like a mellow apple 
shall drop from off the wrinkled stalk of time." He con- 
tinues to talk and gets paid for it. Jack Sherrod, Hamil- 
ton. Happy Jack. Full of good humor all the time. 
Farmer. Dave Stanback, from Richmond. He never 
stood back when he was needed to help make a good time. 
His friends were many. Henry Sloan, a quiet, good boy. 
Think Mr. Alexander Graham, of Charlotte, married in this 
family. He was from Sampson. Henry Spears, Lilling- 
ton. Still resides in Harnett and a good citizen. Ed. 
Steele, Greensboro. Good natured Ed. Social in dispo- 
sition and fond of the girls, though a bit bashful. Made a 
certain proposition to one and she told him to call that 



SUPPLEMENT. 155 

evening for his answer. The pretty girl had a twin sister, 
just like her, and she went in, so I was informed, to give 
the answer — one of the name good as the same. Don't 
know the nature of the answer, but Ed. married another 
girl. We know not what an hour may bring forth in mat- 
ters like these. Ed. is a prosperous lawyer in High Point, 
and belongs to the Church. Harry Stubbs, handsome boy 
and very bright. He has made his mark. Isaac Taylor, 
Chapel Hill. Ike was always funny. He couldn't help be- 
ing that way. He is in the asylum now at Morganton. 
Giving his life to the care of the unfortunates. He stands 
high in the profession of medicine. His brother Jim had 
mcny friends. He is now a civil engineer and a good one. 
J. C. Troy, Fayetteville. He was captain of the "R. A. 
R." baseball nine and the leader of the glee club, and has 
already been referred to as a "careless fellow," but he re- 
pented a number of years ago, and is now doing the best 
1/6 can under the circumstances. David Vance, Charlotte. 
In many respects he was like his father. As a boy, he could 
te-1 a joke that never failed to fetch a jolly laugh. Poor 
Dave, he went away from us it seems too soon, but he was 
tired. Peace be with you, my old comrade. Latimer 
Vaughn, Warrenton. Numa, the boys called him. He 
has come out at the big end of the horn, and is now a pros- 
perous citizen of Florida. Henry Watkins, Henderson. 
A bright boy. Now living at Sanford. Frank Winston. 
Fat and jolly. Of course he belonged to the Glee Club. 
His presence always drove dull care away. He is well 
known to the body politic in North Carolina. His brother 
Robert comes next. Dignified and highly esteemed. He 
could make a beautiful speech, even in youth. He has 
been a judge, and is fitted to adorn any position his party 
might give him. Fenner Yarboro was a fine boy. I un- 
derstand there is a mystery connected with his where- 
abouts. He left North Carolina years ago. I have given 
the names of the boys at the opening. At the following 
session many more came in. All have done well. Some 



156 SUPPLEMENT. 

of course died early. It may be a few went too soon. All 
tiiat I know are serving their generation well. And to 
these I send a prayer for their welfare. Wherever they 
be they doubtless think of our dear old mother, and of the 
days when we were happy together. Among the students 
who came in the next session I note the following: John 
Angier, Thomas Battle, David Bell, Walter Blackmer, 
Jim Blackwell, Rufus Bobbitt, Roscoe Briggs, Tom 
Brooks, Charles Burt, Clay Clifton, William Cline, Albert 
Coble, Locke Craig, Tom Day, Jno. Dixon, Jos. Dowd, 
Joe Dunlap, Tom Edmund'son, Isaac Emerson — "Bromo- 
Seltzer" — Charles Cobb, Edgar Ewell, Henry Faison, Ed- 
ward Franck, Tom Gillam, Ed. Glenn, Geo. Greene, Jno. 
Greene, Fred Hargett, Alf. Hargrave, Ernest Haywood, 
Jas. Heilig, Bennett Hester, Isham Hill, William Hill, Al- 
len Holzhauser, Robert Hughes, Alf. Jones, John Little, 
Isaac Long, Robert Martin, Charles McNeill, George 
Means, (the wagon elevator at the "Di" Building) Jim 
Moore, Paschal Norfleet, Ed. Overman, Sam Pender, 
Alexander Phillips, Joe Ransom, Robt. Ransom, Ben 
Sharpe, pd. Simmons, Andrew Smith, Jim Southgate, 
Jim Staton, Fenner Stickney, Robert Strange, Nat Street, 
Joshua Whedbee, Duncan Williams, and Frank Wood. 
Gentlemen of the jury, North Carolinians, attention! Read 
all the names. How do you like them? They work for 
and love their State. Some of them have gone home, but 
the majority is still with us. In the list are to be found 
honored men of every calling and vocation, true to God 
and to country. If one of them has proven disloyal to his 
State, in whose University they were trained, I know him 
not. With tar on their heels, brains in their heads, and 
loyalty in their hearts, you may depend upon these men 
to stick to North Carolina, and everything that is dear to 
her. And never did the "old ship" need valiant men more 
than now. 

The University has grown from these early days, of 
which I write, increasing in patronage and efficiency every 



SUPPLEMENT. 157 

year, until now it is not difficult to forecast an uninter- 
rupted and continued progress which must be hers, inevi- 
tably. So mote it be. And to the comrades of the happy 
long ago, with all who may be dear to you in reverence, 
faith and love, I send you this "letter written unto you 
with mine own hand;" and to give you and yours, after all 
these years, the benediction of one whose great faith in- 
spires my faith. "Grace be to you and peace from God the 
Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Him- 
self for our sins, that He might deliver us from this pres- 
ent evil world, according to the will of God and our Fa- 
ther: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." Gal- 
atians 1:3-5. 



SECRET OF ODD FELLOWSHIP. 

Several years ago there lived, in a little town in this 
State, a man, whose name it is not necessary for me to 
mention. He had at one time in life been worth $10,000. 
But business reverses fell upon him, and he became very 
poor. During his prosperous days he had connected him- 
self with a lodge of Odd Fellows. One morning it was an- 
nounced on tke street that the man was dead. His death 
had been sudden. Being somewhat proud, he had given 
no intimation of his true condition. His brother Odd Fel- 
lows found in the house of the dead man every evidence 
of abject poverty. And they went to work from that time 
to do what God requires as a duty to our fellow. A widow 
end four children were left. And these have been cared 
for by the lodge with unremitting diligence. The son has 
profitable employment, and the daughters are being care- 
fully trained and looked after in that beautiful home at 
Goldsboro. The widow wants for nothing. This is but 
one instance of the practical good which this great insti- 
tution is doing for humanity wherever it exists. The true 
secret of the order is doing something all the time. My 
wife used to think me unmindful of her when two nights 



158 SUPPLEMENT. 

in the week, when not called to do pastoral work, found 
me going to meet with the Odd Fellows and the Pythians. 
She, like other women possessed of curiosity, wondered 
what was the object any way. But since it has been my 
misfortune for years to be cut off from the sphere of an 
active life, she has had the secret of these orders revealed 
to her in a way that has convinced her of the propriety of 
the step in my becoming linked with the men who belong- 
ed to those terrible secret societies. Riding the goat, 
climbing the greasy pole backwards, and traveling the 
road to Jericho, are but minor secrets compared with the 
true secret of Odd Fellowship, or of any of the other be- 
nevolent organizations. The true secret may be known 
and read of all men. It has been in my mind for some 
time to offer to the readers of The Observer something 
of the nature and character of Odd Fellowship. Recent- 
ly, at an anniversary occasion, Maj. W. C. Troy, of Fay- 
etteville, who for many years has been a member of the 
three-links, delivered an address which brings out some 
'nteresting points; and as we are in the same family, it oc- 
curs to me to draw on this address for the major part of 
this week's contribution. 

Odd Fellowship is founded on eternal principles, which 
recognize man as one universal brotherhood, teaching 
him, both by precept and example, that as he springs from 
a common head, he is bound to cherish and protect his 
fellow. It thus presents a broad platform upon which 
mankind universally may concentrate its energy in offices 
of benefaction, based on certain truths, which are alike 
axioms among all nations and creeds. Its sacred tolerance 
presents a nucleus which, by its gentle influence, gathers 
within its orbit antagonistic natures, political or religious ; 
controls discord, stills the storms of passion, and harmon- 
iously directs man's efforts to fraternize the world. Its 
principles conform to law, morality and religion, and do 
not tolerate conduct opposing true allegiance to coun- 
try or to God. The walk of a true Odd Fellow is marked 



SUPPLEMENT. X59 

by soberness, justice and generosity. In the lodge room 
the meeting is a fraternity in its broadest sense. The leg- 
islation therein is that which is based on the teaching of 
the Golden Rule. The world is shut out. No bickering, 
political nor sectarian controversy is permitted; but each 
member exercises charity one to another. The Presby- 
terian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, the Jew and the 
Gentile, within its sacred precinct, are held together by 
three links in the golden chain of friendship, love and 
truth. 

"Friendship, such as was exemplified in the conduct of 
Jonathan to David, is the corner-stone of the temple of 
Odd Fellowship, upon which solid base the superstruc- 
ture must abide until time is no more. This friendship 
leads to brotherly love, prompting the strong to assist the 
weak; the learned to instruct the ignorant; and, in fact, it 
is but a living picture of the good Samaritan still at work. 
We take pride in the glorious work and the good accom- 
plished by our order. The widow and orphan have had 
substantial aid, and thousands of the latter cared for, edu- 
cated and made useful men and women. Since the organ- 
ization of the order in America 79 years ago, there have 
been initiated, including those in Australia, Germany, 
Denmark and Switzerland, more than two million mem- 
bers; and the amount expended for relief has reached the 
enormous sum of $71,288,702. (It is a larger sum now.) 
That you may have an idea of the immensity of this sum 
of money, I reduce it to a practical shape. It takes 16 
silver dollars to weigh one pound. Divide the amount 
expended by 16, the quotient is 4,455,543 pounds. Now 
to move this amount of money say 2,000 pounds will be a 
load for a two-horse wagon, it takes 2,22^ wagons, 4-454 
horses; and suppose 40 feet would be sufficient interven- 
ing space for each wagon, the train of wagons carrying 
these dollars would be 17 miles long. And these dollars, 
every one, has gone to the relief of suffering humanity. 
That is Odd Fellowship. That is its secret. 



160 SUPPLEMENT. 

"It is not, as has been contended, an enemy to the 
Church, but a powerful auxiliary, a stepping stone to the 
Church which is composed of a peculiar people zealous in 
good works. Odd Fellowship seems to reach men, that 
is, some men, for usually the leaders in benevolent socie- 
ties are churchmen, that the Church does not reach. And 
if these men become inculcated with the doctrines, friend- 
ship, love and truth, none can deny that good to them has 
come through their being members of this order. Odd 
Fellowship in no sense is an enemy of the Church, for as 
faithful church members realize so do we that the all-see- 
ing eye of God is on us. 

"A few years ago I was up in the mountains of western 
North Carolina building the railroad. Just in the rear of 
my cabin was a spring so small an ox could drink it dry. 
In my solitude there one day, thinking of absent loved 
ones, and my old associates in the Cape Fear section, I 
diverted these thoughts with a contemplation of that lit- 
tle spring and what it finally became. I saw the tiny 
stream as it trickled down the mountain side, going on 
and on uittil it became a part of the beautiful Nantahala, 
and then a part of the Tennessee, the Mississippi, the Gulf 
of Mexico, and at last, lost in, or becoming a part of the 
great Atlantic, on whose bosom amidst the white capped 
waves thousands of ships are carrying a large part of the 
restless human multitude, and the commerce of the world 
from continent to continent; and to-day, bearing the 
great navies of the United States and Spain, laden with 
death dealing missiles, to be used in strife that will turn 
the blue waves red with human blood. Oh, that the 
principles of friendship, love and truth might intervene; 
assert their power and influence; wave the flag of peace; 
that brother may not slay brother; so our song will be: 

" 'Hail angel of the helping hand, 
Go forth upon a peace mission grand 
Roll stones from darkened tombs away, 
Drive out the night, let in the day, 
Change hate to love with touch divine, 



SUPPLEMENT. 161 

Thy links around both nations twine, 
Transform each ancient soulless creed 
Into a living, loving deed, 
Till brother man from sea to sea, 
More brotherly in love shall be. 
Hail! angel, Hail! and still we claim 
Odd Fellowship to be thy name! ' 



<<<, 



'Seventy-nine years ago Odd Fellowship was as the lit- 
tle spring just starting out, but it has grown and strength- 
ened with the flight of years, until to-day we behold it one 
of the greatest of human institutions for the perpetuation 
and strengthening of the tie that binds the brotherhood 
of man. The order must necessarily grow, and seeing the 
good which it has accomplished, and continues to dis- 
pense, no one can reasonably say anything against it. Mil- 
lions have already learned to say of Odd Fellowship: 

" 'Beside the Church in every land 
Odd Fellowship with helping hand 
Is walking forth to serve at need 
And answer prayer with loving deed. 
No rival of the Church is she, 
Her work is that of ministry. 
No new religion does she teach; 
She's here to practice, not to preach. 
For when the earnest prayer is said; 
Give us this day our daily bread, 
Odd Fellowship produces then 
The needed loaf as her Amen. 
She loves the priest of solid worth, 
She loves the God who gave her birth, 
Call on her, Church of God most high, 
And she will give the grand reply; 
Her million hearts will beat with thine, 
Her banners hail thy cross divine, 
And she will serve as now unseen, 
Thy friend as she has ever been.' "